Cabalce v. Blanchard, No. 13-15256 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
VSE agreed to store and destroy fireworks that had been seized by the federal government pursuant to a contract with the Department of the Treasury. On appeal, VSE challenges the district court’s order remanding to state court several actions that sought to impose liability on VSE for a deadly explosion involving the seized fireworks. The court concluded that the district court properly remanded plaintiffs’ actions to state court under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1) because VSE did not demonstrate that the requisite causal nexus between plaintiffs’ claims and direction or control of the project by a federal agency or official; VSE presented no evidence reflecting that the destruction plan for the fireworks was devised under the direction, supervision, or control of a federal officer as required for federal officer removal; federal officer removal was not warranted because VSE failed to demonstrate that it had a colorable federal defense to plaintiffs’ claims; VSE, a non-military contractor, was not able to assert a plausible government contractor defense; VSE did not establish that the federal government reviewed in detail the destruction plan that had been independently devised by VSE and Donaldson; and VSE was unable to satisfy the requirements for derivative sovereign immunity. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.