Legal Memorandum: Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Issue: May a federal magistrate’s lack of jurisdiction to issue a remand order be raised on appeal?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Lack of subject matter jurisdiction; Appeal
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 28 U.S.C. § 1447, § 1447(c), § 1447(d)
Date: 04/01/2007

The lack of subject matter jurisdiction is appropriately raised on appeal.  In In re U.S. Healthcare, 159 F.3d 142 (3d Cir. 1998), the court held that a magistrate judge’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction was a proper issue to bring before a court of appeals.  159 F.3d at 146.  In the context of the issue of reviewing a remand order, the court observed that although the general rule is that a remand order is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise, 28 U.S.C. § 1447, the statute makes an exception for cases in which the magistrate lacked subject matter jurisdiction id., § 1447(c).  The court observed that if a magistrate judge’s remand order is reviewable based on alleged lack of subject matter jurisdiction, “then an order of a magistrate judge that could not be issued pursuant to section 1447(d) because of the magistrate judge’s lack of authority to issue it, is not insulated from review.”  159 F.3d at 146. 


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