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Second Circuit Review: Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

March 28, 2024

Litigation of counsel Martin Flumenbaum and firm Chairman Brad Karp’s latest Second Circuit Review column, “Subject-Matter Jurisdiction,” appeared in the March 28 issue of the New York Law Journal. The authors discuss a recent decision in Behrens v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., which raised the question of whether a district court is required to exercise subject-matter jurisdiction where it exists, even if it is invoked belatedly—a matter of first impression in the Second Circuit. The panel unanimously agreed with the district court that a party may forfeit subject-matter jurisdiction by failing to invoke it timely even though lack of subject-matter jurisdiction can be raised at any point in a proceeding. Joining three sister circuits in this finding, the Second Circuit’s decision clarifies that, while federal courts are obligated to ensure they do not lack subject-matter jurisdiction, they are not required to find and exercise subject-matter jurisdiction. It is up to litigants to proactively assert subject-matter jurisdiction arguments earlier in a proceeding to ensure that they do not forfeit them. Litigation associate Kristina Bunting assisted in the preparation of this column.

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