The U.S. has a dual court system — state courts and federal courts. State courts are established by state law and have broad jurisdiction, which means they handle many types of cases. Federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution and have a limited jurisdiction, typically limited to cases involving the Constitution and laws passed by Congress.
In some cases, the parties may disagree about whether the case should be heard in state or federal court. When this occurs, your court searches may locate state cases that have been “removed to federal court” or federal cases that have been “remanded back to state court” – and sometimes both procedures will happen to the same case.
“Removal” is when a defendant takes a case that was filed by the plaintiff in state court and then brings it to federal court. A defendant can remove a case from state court to federal court if the case originally could have been brought in federal court. The plaintiff can challenge the removal to federal court and, if the challenge is successful, the federal court will “remand” the case back to state court.