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Posts Tagged ‘CAFA removal’

Earlier today, the Supreme Court granted cert in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company, LLC v. Owens, No. 13-719, in which it will take up the contours of the standard for providing factual support in a notice of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA).  Specifically, the issue presented is as follows:

Whether a defendant seeking removal to federal court is required to include evidence supporting federal jurisdiction in the notice of removal, or is alleging the required “short and plain statement of the grounds for removal” enough?

This is the third CAFA removal case that the Court has accepted in as many years.  During the October 2012 term, the Court decided Standard Fire Ins. Co. v Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013), in which it held that a class representative may not avoid CAFA jurisdiction by stipulating to a recovery of damages of less than $5,000,000 on behalf of members of the proposed class.  Earlier in the current term, the Court decided Mississippi ex rel. Jim Hood v. AU Optronics Corp., Case No. 12-1036 (U.S. Jan. 14, 2014), holding that a parens patriae action brought by a state attorney general on behalf of Mississippi residents was not a “mass action” subject to CAFA.

 

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The Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument Monday in the case of Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles.  At issue is whether a plaintiff can avoid federal removal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) by stipulating to a recovery of less than $5 million on behalf of  a would-be class.  Debra Lyn Bassett has a good preview of the argument over at SCOTUSblog:

http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/01/argument-preview-avoiding-removal-by-limiting-damages/

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I will be speaking in an upcoming live phone/web seminar on CAFA removal issues sponsored by Strafford Publications.  Here is some information about the program:

CAFA Removal and Remand: Latest Developments

Tuesday, March 29, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT

Program Description:

Jurisdictional ambiguities in the CAFA statute continue to challenge litigators. One example is the Eleventh Circuit’s Cappuccitti v. DirecTV ruling that the district court lacked jurisdiction because no individual plaintiff or putative class member met the amount-in-controversy requirement. While the Eleventh Circuit later vacated its decision, its initial confusion was caused by CAFA’s ambiguous jurisdictional structure. Another evolving jurisdictional issue is the federal court’s authority to retain jurisdiction post-removal. Courts still wrestle with the effect of post-removal events such as denial of class certification or loss of diversity on continued federal court jurisdiction. While several recent cases more firmly establish continued post-removal federal court jurisdiction, this issue is far from settled.

This program will provide class action litigators with an examination of the latest case law developments in CAFA removal and remand, analyze continued jurisdictional ambiguities and pitfalls, and offer litigation strategies for navigating these ambiguities. The panel will offer perspectives and guidance on these and other critical questions: How are the courts resolving ambiguities in CAFA’s amount-in-controversy requirements for federal court jurisdiction? Do the federal courts retain jurisdiction even after class certification is denied or diversity is destroyed? What post-removal events or circumstances can result in a remand to state court?

The panel presentation will be followed by a  live question and answer session.

For more information and to register, see the Strafford Publications website.

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As 2010 winds down, it’s time to review the key developments in class action law.  It was an especially busy year for the federal courts, and in particular the U.S. Supreme Court, on issues impacting class action practice.  Here, in chronological order, are 10 key developments from the year that was:

  1. January 5 – In In re Baycol Products Litigation, the Eighth Circuit follows the Seventh Circuit’s lead in upholding the right of a federal court to enjoin a putative statewide class action from proceeding where a federal court had already denied class certification in a case involving substantially similar claims.  (See CAB entries dated January 7 and January 12).
  2. February 23 – In a decision that will impact many class actions removed under the Class Action Fairness Act, the Supreme Court adopts the “nerve center test” as the standard for determining corporate citizenship, in Hertz Corp. v. Friend.  (See CAB entry dated March 2)
  3. March 31 – The Supreme Court holds that states may not regulate the types of claims that may be filed as class actions in the federal courts, in Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Insurance Co.  (See CAB entry dated April 8)
  4. April 7 – In American Honda Motor Co. v. Allen, the Seventh Circuit holds that a trial court must rule on challenges to the admissibility of expert testimony relevant to class certification before deciding whether a class may be certified.  (See CAB entry dated May 4)
  5. April 26 – The Ninth Circuit issues its decision in Dukes v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc., adopting rigorous class certification standards similar to those previously adopted by the Second Circuit in In re IPO Securities Litigation, 471 F.3d 24 (2d Cir. 2006), but nonetheless certifying under FRCP 23(b)(2), what has been called the largest employment discrimination class action in history.
  6. April 27 – The Supreme Court seemingly puts an end, for all practical purposes, to the concept of class arbitration by holding that a defendant could not be compelled to defend an arbitration on a class basis where the arbitration clause did not expressly provide for class arbitration, in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. Animalfeeds Int’l Corp.  (See CAB entry dated May 11).
  7. June 24 – In Morrison v. National Australia Bank, the Supreme Court deals a fatal blow to “foreign-cubed” class actions, holding that § 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 does not allow for fraud claims involving transactions on foreign exchanges that occurred outside the United States. (See case summary at SCOTUS blog).
  8. July 19, October 20 – An Eleventh Circuit panel issues a controversial decision in Cappuccitti v. DirecTV, Inc., severely restricting CAFA removal jurisdiction to cases where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 with respect to at least one class member, but later reverses itself in an October 15 opinion.  (See Guest Post from Eric Jon Taylor and Jon Chally at CAFA Law Blog for more on the first decision and this October 20 CAB entry on the second decision).
  9. November 9 – Supreme Court hears oral argument in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, in which the Court considers whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state law holding a class arbitration waiver unconscionable.  (See CAB fsummary of oral argument dated November 17).
  10. December 6 – Supreme Court grants certiorari in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, to decide the issue of whether a claim for monetary relief can be certified under FRCP 23(b)(2).  (See CAB entry dated December 7).

Just considering the cases still awaiting ruling before the Supreme Court, 2011 promises to be another exciting year in the world of class actions.  Happy New Year to all!

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The Fall 2009 edition of the ABA Class Action and Derivative Suits Committee’s newsletter CADS Report has some great articles on cutting-edge class action issues relating to class action litigation in state courts.  The topics include:

1) Use of state law equitable tolling to principles to resurrect a class action previously filed in state court;

2) Resolution of fact issues at the class certification stage in state court class actions;

3) Drafting effective class arbitration waivers;

4) Avoiding CAFA removal.

CADS members can get access to the on-line version of the report here.  If you aren’t a member, you should join.

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Here are some blog entries from the week that was that might be of interest to class action practitioners:

Class Action Decisions

For a “brief” commentary on a case addressing the removability under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) of a class action counterclaim by a plaintiff/counterclaim defendant, see this guest commentary from Dallas attorney Jonathan Bridges on CAFA Law Blog:

http://www.cafalawblog.com/-case-summaries-guest-commentary-fourth-circuit-to-decide-whether-to-let-att-pull-up-its-shorts-class-action-to-federal-court.html

Class Action Defense Blog summarizes a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that a state’s parens patriae action brought on behalf of its citizens was removable under CAFA:

http://classactiondefense.jmbm.com/2008/09/cafa_class_action_defense_case_19.html

Mass Tort Defense summarizes a Kentucky federal court decision denying class certification in a toxic tort lawsuit in part based on plaintiffs’ ability to articulate an appropriate class definition:

http://www.masstortdefense.com/2008/09/articles/federal-court-rejects-toxic-tort-class-action/

Consumer Law & Policy Blog summarizes a September 8, 2008 decision of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals applying Missouri law in upholding a class arbitration ban in a consumer class action involving prepaid gift cards:

http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2008/09/eighth-circuit.html 

Class Action Commentary

Training Marketer discusses potential impacts from a class action settlement involving claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seeking access to a retail store’s website for persons with disabilities…

http://trainingtime.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/target-settles-class-action-ada-lawsuit-is-your-site-compliant/

… more on providing online access to visually impaired users from That Credit Union Blog

http://thatcreditunionblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/providing-online-accommodations-for-the-visually-impaired/

… and The Industry Standard:

http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/09/15/target-pact-wont-lead-web-access-standards

The Defense Base Act Blog discusses possible impacts that the Defense Base Act could have on pending class action litigation involving claims that a company’s acts of not training its employees properly for work in Iraq has led to injuries to other employees:

http://defensebaseactblog.com/2008/09/12/will-the-defense-base-act-foil-the-recent-class-action-law-suit-against-kbr/

Class Action Scandals

Health Care Renewal comments on the University of Minnesota’s recruitment of a health insurance company executive who resigned in the wake of a stock option backdating scandal:

http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2008/09/university-of-minnesota-courts-mcguire.html

Class Action Reform

Watchdog Blog endorses proposed legislation that would prohibit class arbitration waivers in credit card agreements:

http://citizen.typepad.com/watchdog_blog/2008/09/arbitration-wil.html

Class Action Settlements

Overlawyered updates earlier commentary on a $688 million attorneys fee awarded in an Enron class action settlement:

http://overlawyered.com/2008/09/coughlin-stoia-amlaw-daily-and-prof-john-coffee-contd/

The Consumerist reports on frustrations in trying to participate in a class action settlement after receiving notice:

http://consumerist.com/5048989/join-the-verizon-etf-class-action-if-they-would-only-let-you

Class Action (and Related) Scholarship

California Punitive Damages provides a synopsis and brief commentary on a recent scholarly work entitled “Punitive Damages and Class Actions” written by Professors Fransesco Parisi (Minnesota) and Marta Cenini (Milan)…

http://calpunitives.blogspot.com/2008/09/law-review-article-punitive-damages-and.html

… and more on the same article from Mass Tort Litigation Blog:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/09/parisi-and-ceni.html

Point of Law reviews a paper entitled “The Use of Litigation Screenings in Mass Torts: A Formula for Fraud?” authored by Cardozo Law Professor Lester Brickman:

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2008/09/brickman-of-1-m.php#more

Wage Law recommends the paper “Class Certification in the Age of Aggregate Proof” by Vanderbilt Professor Richard A. Nagreda:

http://wagelaw.typepad.com/wage_law/2008/09/class-certification-in-the-age-of-aggregate-proof.html

Class Action News

Fitz & JenLuke Ford.net, paidContent.org, and Portfolio.com discuss an ERISA class action filed by editors, writers, and other employees of a major newspaper recently acquired through the alleged misuse of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP): 

http://www.fitzandjen.com/2008/09/jen-if-you-thin.html

http://lukeford.net/blog/?p=5006

http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-jack-nelson-among-current-ex-tribune-co-staffers-trying-class-action-su/

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/mixed-media/2008/09/16/la-times-refugees-sue-for-control-of-paper

Class Action Trends

The D&O Diary discusses the latest in options backdating settlements:

http://www.dandodiary.com/2008/09/articles/options-backdating/options-backdating-settlement-news-apple-and-unitedhealth/

Real Lawyers Have Blogs discusses a well-known plaintiffs’ class action firm’s use of social networking website Twitter to find prospective class representatives:

http://kevin.lexblog.com/2008/09/articles/social-networking-1/law-firm-using-twitter-to-find-plainitiffs-for-class-action-law-suit/

Rhondak discusses the use of small claims court as a “poor man’s class action” to vindicate consumer’s rights:

http://rhondak.livejournal.com/1036526.html

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