within the meaning of section 1446(b) and thereby triggers the thirty day period for removal.
Judges in this district have taken differing views as to whether a summons constitutes an initial pleading under section 1446(b). Compare Craig v. Lake Asbestos of Quebec, 541 F. Supp. 182 (E.D. Pa. 1982) (Pennsylvania praecipe for writ of summons and the summons itself do not constitute initial pleading) with Moore v. City of Philadelphia, Civil Action 88-1424, slip op., at 3 (E.D. Pa. May 16, 1988) (Pennsylvania summons triggers thirty-day period if its contents afford defendant "the opportunity to determine the action's removability"). In Craig, Judge Newcomer maintained that case-by-case review of Pennsylvania summonses to determine whether a "particular defendant was fairly on notice of the nature of the claim against him" would invite "wasteful litigation" leaving defendants with uncertainty as to the appropriate time for removal. 541 F. Supp. at 185. Accordingly, he favored a bright-line rule under which "the praecipe for writ of summons and the writ of summons commonly used in Pennsylvania" would not be regarded as pleadings, and hence the receipt of them would not trigger the thirty-day removal period. Id. at 186. More recently, Judge Bechtle adopted the alternative approach; having determined that defendant had sufficient notice of the action's removability, Judge Bechtle remanded the action because defendant had not filed its petition within thirty days of its receipt of summons. Moore, slip op., at 3-4.
Although I recognize that the Craig rule is easier to administer than the Moore rule, the latter approach seems to me more consistent with the federal policy that "federal removal jurisdiction is to be strictly construed." Universal Motors Group v. Wilkerson, 674 F. Supp. 1108, 1110 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) (New York summons is "'initial pleading' for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)") (citing Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 85 L. Ed. 1214, 61 S. Ct. 868 (1941)). Pennsylvania summonses will not in every case provide sufficient information to ascertain the removability of an action.
But that should not lessen a defendant's obligation to act promptly when it has sufficient notice of such removability. Accord Universal Motors Group, supra; Brzozowski v. Gialanella, Civil Action 89-944, slip op. (E.D. Pa. April 5, 1989) (detailed notice and summons constitute initial pleading thereby permitting removal); see also Annotation, Commentary on 1988 Revision of 28 U.S.C. § 1446, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1446 to 1650 (1989 Cumulative Annual Pocket Part) (suggesting that "it is not likely that [a praecipe of summons or notice such as the one used in New York] will trigger the 30-day period in a federal question case unless, despite its brevity, the notice happens to manifest the federal nature of the claim asserted").
In this case, defendant Amtrak was on notice of the action's removability upon its receipt of the summons. Whatever uncertainty as to removability may inhere in some form summonses, no such uncertainty surrounds a summons issued to Amtrak; as a federally chartered and federally owned corporation, Amtrak is on notice upon receipt of any summons that the action against it is removable. That result flows from the line of cases beginning with Osborn v. Bank of the United States, 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 738, 6 L. Ed. 204 (1824) which have held that a suit involving a federally chartered, federally owned corporation arises under federal law "even if the federally-chartered corporation is joined with state corporate or individual defendants in an action that is otherwise non-federal in character." McManus v. Glassman's Wynnefield, 710 F. Supp. 1043, 1044 (E.D. Pa. 1989).
Accordingly, Amtrak's petition, filed well beyond the thirty-day period established by section 1446(b), is untimely. Remand is thus the proper course, and is directed in the accompanying Order.
For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, plaintiffs' Motion to Remand is hereby GRANTED and this action is hereby REMANDED to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.