The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a defendant in a state court lawsuit served with process can immediately remove to federal court before the in-state defendants are served and the federal court will assume control of the for the out-of-state party (ies). The decision is Texas Brine Company, L.L.C. v. American Arbitration Association.
Thus, a plaintiff filing an action in state court with both in-state and out-of-state defendants and who is attempting to avoid federal court will want to promptly serve at least one in-state defendant.
The word on the street is that some out-of-state defendants are monitoring state court filings and will immediately remove a case before they are served and any in-state defendant is served. (This practice was criticized in Bowman v. PHH Mortgage Co.; the Bowman court required that one least one defendant needed to be properly served and joined before removal could properly take place.)
If you are attempting to avoid such a result, I have a suggestion that I am happy to share privately. Reach me at email@example.com.