Archives: Class Action Fairness Act

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Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles: Supreme Court Grants Certiorari

In my August 20, 2012 post, I noted that there were several petitions pending before the U.S. Supreme Court involving class action issues.  Today the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in The Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, an insurance class action case presenting the following question: Whether, after Smith v. Bayer, when a named … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Class Action Cases for October 2012 Term

The U.S. Supreme Court has already granted review on one class action law issue as described in my June 26, 2012 post.  In Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, No. 11-864, the Court granted certiorari on “[w]hether a district court may certify a class action without resolving whether the plaintiff class has introduced admissible evidence, including expert … Continue Reading

Amount in Controversy Under CAFA: Burden of Proof, Disclaimer in Complaint and Punitive Damages Addressed By Tenth Circuit

Motions to remand under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) in insurance class actions often focus on whether the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million.  This is because the “local controversy” and “home state” exceptions to CAFA jurisdiction are inapplicable if the defendant is not a citizen of the state where suit is filed.  Thus, … Continue Reading

House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) Amendments

The Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on potential amendments to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”).  The hearing, held seven years after CAFA’s enactment, was intended to address the impact the statute has had on class action litigation and what improvements or … Continue Reading

Evidence Supporting Removal Under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA): Ninth Circuit Confirms That There Is No Requirement to Submit Evidence at the Time of Removal

Some plaintiffs’ lawyers have suggested that when a defendant removes a case under the Class Action Fairness Act, it must submit evidence (such as affidavits) with the notice of removal establishing the amount in controversy and other facts pertinent to removal.  The Ninth Circuit recently issued a short, unpublished opinion explaining that there is no … Continue Reading

Stipulations Regarding Amount in Controversy Under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA): Eighth Circuit Upholds Stipulations

A February 2, 2012 decision by the Eighth Circuit upheld the use of stipulations by the named plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel attempting to limit the amount in controversy to below the $5 million threshold for federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).  This is the first court of appeals opinion squarely addressing this … Continue Reading

Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011: Impact on Class Actions

[Note to subscribers: I’ve made a correction in this post to fix an error in Prof. Hellman’s name.  If you’ve read it already, there are no substantive changes.] The Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-63) becomes effective today, January 6, 2012, with respect to new cases commenced in state … Continue Reading

Amount in Controversy Under CAFA: New Ohio Decision Illustrates Importance Of Tailoring Data To The Proposed Class Where Possible

One challenge defendants and their counsel face early in defending a putative class action filed in state court, assuming they would prefer to litigate in federal court, is how to show that the $5 million amount in controversy requirement is satisfied.  This must be done quickly so that the removal can be timely filed within … Continue Reading

Can a Voluntary Dismissal And Re-Filing Avoid the Class Action Fairness Act? Eighth Circuit Says No, Where A Defendant Has Answered

One strategy some plaintiffs’ attorneys have used to try to avoid federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) is to voluntarily dismiss a case after it has been removed to federal court, and then re-file a new complaint in state court with amended allegations framed in a way that will bar federal jurisdiction.  … Continue Reading

Calculating the Amount in Controversy Under the Class Action Fairness Act in an Insurance Class Action: New Seventh Circuit Opinion

The Seventh Circuit recently issued a decision favorable to insurers regarding calculating the amount in controversy under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).  In Keeling v. Esurance Insurance Company, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 19598 (7th Cir. Sept. 26, 2011), the plaintiff brought a class action alleging that certain UM/UIM coverage sold by Esurance was purportedly … Continue Reading

Smith v. Bayer Corp. Opinion: Potential Impact on Insurance Class Actions

The Supreme Court failed to take the opportunity to resolve the pressing problem of relitigation in class actions, but suggested some potential solutions.  On June 16, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Smith v. Bayer Corp., addressing whether a federal court, after denying class certification, can enjoin a state court from adjudicating a putative … Continue Reading

Attorneys General and the Class Action Fairness Act: When Are Attorney General Suits “Class Actions”? Fourth Circuit Weighs In

When a state attorney general files a lawsuit that is not expressly pled as a class action, but the suit seeks a recovery on behalf of consumers that would put money in their pockets just like a class action, is that a “class action” within the meaning of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA)?  The … Continue Reading

Class Action Fairness Act: Eighth Circuit Addresses Aggregation of Multiple Suits to Determine Amount in Controversy

One tactic plaintiffs’ attorneys have attempted to use in trying to avoid federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) is to split up what would ordinarily be one class action into multiple cases, each of them structured to try to achieve an amount in controversy below $5 million.  An important issue that federal … Continue Reading

Can Counterclaims Be Removed Under the Class Action Fairness Act? Ninth Circuit Says No

A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit, Westwood Apex v. Contreras, holds that a defendant brought into a case as an additional defendant to a counterclaim cannot remove a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).  The original plaintiff and counterclaim defendant, Westwood Apex, filed a collections action in California state … Continue Reading

The Burden of Proof on the Amount in Controversy Under the Class Action Fairness Act: Seventh Circuit Makes It Easier for Insurance Companies and Other Defendants

Often the first step for a carrier in defending an insurance class action filed in state court is to determine if the $5 million amount in controversy under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) can be met for removal to federal court, and how the amount in controversy can be proven.  In Back Doctors Ltd. … Continue Reading
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