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CAFA Law Blog

Information, cases and insights regarding the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005

Evidence of Proposed Class Members’ Residency Sufficient to Show Citizenship for Home State and Local Controversy Exceptions, Even Without Residency-Domicile Presumption

Posted in Case Summaries

Ellis v. Montgomery County, 2017 WL 440737 (E.D. Penn. Jan. 27, 2017)

A Pennsylvania District Court found it more likely than not that over two-thirds of a proposed class’s members were citizens of Pennsylvania, triggering CAFA’s home state exception, based primarily on evidence that 90% of those individuals resided in Pennsylvania. The Third Circuit has not ruled on whether a residency-domicile presumption should be recognized in these circumstances, as the Sixth Circuit did recently. But here, the District Court found it didn’t matter. Under either the residency-domicile presumption or the more holistic factual approach required by the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, the court found the defendants’ evidence satisfied their burden. It was undisputed that the other elements of CAFA’s home state exception were met, and accordingly the court declined jurisdiction and dismissed the action. Continue Reading

California Waiting Time Penalties May Benefit Employers in Establishing the Amount in Controversy

Posted in Case Summaries, Wage and Hour

Mackall v. Healthsource Global Staffing, Inc. Case No. 16-cv-03810 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 2, 2016).

A district court in California found that allegations of wilful failure to timely pay wages are sufficient to support estimations of waiting time penalties at a 100% rate.

The plaintiff, Karen Mackall, filed this putative class action in the Superior Court of California, county of Alameda, on behalf of a class of all current and former non-exempt hourly Registered Nurses employed by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged causes of action for failure to pay minimum wages; failure to pay overtime compensation; failure to provide meal and rest periods; failure to keep accurate payroll records; and failure to pay wages of terminated or resigned employees etc. The plaintiff also asserted a claim under PAGA.

The defendant removed the action under CAFA asserting minimal diversity claiming that it was a citizen of California, whereas, the home mailing addresses for the putative class members established that many them were citizens of other states. The defendant asserted that the class consisted of at least 1,242 putative class members and the amount-in-controversy exceeded $5 million.

The plaintiff responded with a motion to remand arguing that the defendant failed to prove that the amount-in-controversy exceeded CAFA’s statutory requirement of $5 million. The amount-in-controversy was the only dispute between the parties. Continue Reading

Class Actions Solely Involving Claims Related to Securities Invoke CAFA Exception Depriving Courts of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Posted in Case Summaries, Jurisdictional Amount

Rainero v. Archon Corporation, 2016 WL 7384031 (9th Cir. Dec. 21, 2016).

The Ninth Circuit held it lacked federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.§ 1331 because the plaintiff did not assert a federal claim and the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77p(d)(1)(A), did not provide an independent basis for federal question jurisdiction over plaintiff’s state-law claim.

The Ninth Circuit also held that CAFA does not allow a district court to assert diversity jurisdiction over a class action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2) because the exception in 29 U.S.C.§ 1332(d)(9)(C) states that § 1332(d)(2) shall not apply to any class action that solely involves a claim that relates to the rights, duties, and obligations relating to or created by or pursuant to any security.

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A Forum Selection Clause Must Clearly and Unequivocally Waive the Right To Remove the Action to Federal Court To Remand the Action

Posted in Case Summaries

Zehentbauer Family Land LP v Chesapeake Exploration, LLC, 2016 WL 3903391 (N.D. Ohio July 19, 2016).

A district court in Ohio found that if the forum selection clause does not clearly and unequivocally waive the right to removal, it cannot find that the defendants waived their right to remove the action.

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District Court Retains Jurisdiction When Plaintiff Fails to Establish that the Home-State Exception Applies

Posted in Case Summaries

Sovanarra Nop v. American Water Resources, Inc., 2016 WL 4890412 (D.N.J. Sept. 14, 2016).

A district court in New Jersey retained jurisdiction over an action and rejected the plaintiff’s argument to consider the current year’s voter list (not the year in which the action was filed) for purposes of establishing citizenship.

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A Notice of Removal Need Not Contain Evidence Regarding Punitive Damages

Posted in Case Summaries

Lavelle v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 2017 WL 706157 (D.D.C. Feb. 22, 2017)

In denying a motion to remand, the District of Columbia found that a defendant is not obligated to present evidence regarding punitive damages in its notice of removal, particularly when the defendant relies on the plaintiff’s calculation for such claims. The Court further held that declarations of an insurer’s claims representative and economist were sufficiently reliable to satisfy the insurer’s burden of demonstrating the size of a putative class of insureds to determine the amount in controversy. Continue Reading

Section 1332(C)(1) Gives Dual, Not Alternative, Citizenship To A Corporation Whose Principal Place Of Business Is In A State Different From Where It Is Incorporated

Posted in Case Summaries

Life of the South Insurance Company v. Carzell, 2017 WL 1174083 (11th Cir. March 29, 2017).

Recently, the Eleventh Circuit denied two corporate defendants’ petition to appeal because the companies’ dual citizenship was an insufficient basis to create federal diversity jurisdiction under CAFA when they shared a state of citizenship with all of the plaintiffs.

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Documents Pertaining To A Separate Case Does Not Constitute As ‘Other Paper’ To Ascertain Federal Jurisdiction Under CAFA

Posted in Case Summaries

Seasons Homeowners Association Inc v Richmond Homes of Nevada Inc., 2016 WL 7155746 (D. Nev. Dec. 7, 2016).

In this construction defect dispute, a District Court in Nevada denied the plaintiff’s motion to remand because the the plaintiff’s  supporting documents pertained to a separate case and, therefore, could not serve as “other paper” to put the defendants on notice of the amount in controversy in the instant case.

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District Court Orders Parties to Conduct Jurisdictional Discovery Before It Can Rule on Amount-in-Controversy and CAFA Exception Issues

Posted in Case Summaries

Brinkley v. Monterey Financial Services, Inc., 2016 WL 4886934 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2016).

A district court in California ordered the parties to conduct jurisdictional discovery to determine if two-thirds of the class members (consisting of members from the states of California and Washington) were from the state of California, so it could ascertain if CAFA’s local controversy exception applied to this action.

The plaintiff, Tiffany Brinkley, filed this action in the Superior Court of the California for the County of San Diego, asserting causes of action against the defendant Monetary Financial Services, Inc., for violations of California Penal Code §§ 630, et. seq., Washington Rev. Code §§ 9.73, et. seq., and California Business & Professions Code § 17200, et. seq., based on the defendant’s alleged unlawful recording and/or monitoring of telephone calls. The plaintiff sought, among other things, to certify a putative class including all persons who, while physically located or residing in California and Washington, made or received one or more telephone calls with the defendant in the class period and did not receive notice at the beginning of the call that their conversation may be recorded or monitored.

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When a Complaint Involves More than 100 Plaintiffs Whose Claims Arise Out of a Common Set of Facts, a Court Will Analyze the Language and Structure to Determine Whether Plaintiffs Proposed a Joint Trial

Posted in Case Summaries

Melissa Ramirez, et. al. v. Vintage Pharmaceuticals, 852 F.3d 324 (3d Cir. 2017).

In this case, the Third Circuit found that the language the plaintiffs held out as disclaiming their intent to seek a joint trial was not sufficiently definite to prevent removal as a mass action under CAFA. Accordingly, it reversed the U.S. District Court’s order, which had remanding the action to the state court, and remanded the matter to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings.

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