A panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said it likely became the first federal appeals court on Wednesday to rule on whether a COVID-19 negligence lawsuit against a nursing home should be heard in federal or state court, with the three-judge panel finding that the latter is the appropriate forum.

Judges David Porter, Michael Chagares and Jane Roth ruled that the district court was correct in remanding back to state court a challenge that was brought against a New Jersey nursing home by the estates of two residents who died there during the pandemic, accusing the facility of failing to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The federal officer-remove statute and Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) don’t warrant removal of the case to federal court, they ruled.