Judgment for defendant is reversed because the case was wrongly removed under the federal officer removal provision (28 USC 1442). Defendant makes and sells drones, some to the US military, some to civilians. Plaintiff was a Latin American retailer of defendant’s drones. It claimed the defendant delayed its orders and then wrongfully terminated its distributorship agreement and took over its markets. For a private entity to be “acting under” a federal officer, the private entity must be involved in “an effort to assist, or to help carry out, the duties or tasks of the federal superior.” Here, no federal officer told the defendant to delay shipments to the plaintiff or cease doing business with the plaintiff. Defendant claimed it delayed shipment to ensure that plaintiff complied with International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but complying with federal law is not the same as acting under a federal officer’s orders. Defendant was also not acting as a government contractor insofar as it sold drones to the plaintiff. So there was no basis for removal and so the case had to be remanded to state court.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Hurwitz, J.); September 25, 2018; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27344