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

California Court Applies Dart Cherokee To Retain Jurisdiction Despite Evidentiary Objections

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Roa v. TS Staffing Servs., Inc., 2015 WL 300413 (C.D. Cal. 2015)

A district court in California applied the ruling in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547 (2014), and retained jurisdiction over a plaintiff’s evidentiary objections to a notice of removal, finding that when a plaintiff does not challenge the underlying allegations in a notice of removal, they are presumed to be true for the purposes of federal jurisdiction under CAFA.

Plaintiff sought to remand a case on the basis of several evidentiary objections raised to a declaration filed in support of a notice of removal. The Court noted that in Dart Cherokee the Supreme Court held that when a defendant seeks federal-court adjudication, the defendant’s allegations should be accepted when not contested by the plaintiff or questioned by the court. The Supreme Court explained that when a plaintiff contests an allegation in the notice of removal, both sides submit proof and the court decides, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the amount-in-controversy requirement has been satisfied.  But, there is no anti-removal presumption in cases invoking jurisdiction under CAFA.

Here, the defendants had specifically alleged that each element of CAFA was satisfied.  The court noted that, under Dart Cherokee, it must accept these allegations as true unless contested by the plaintiff or questioned by the court.  Since the plaintiff did not contest the allegations, and instead chose to contest the defendant’s evidence in support of the allegations, Dart Cherokee’s “no antiremoval presumption” applied, and the court had no reason to sua sponte question the defendants’ allegations. As defendant was not required to submit evidence in support of its allegations, plaintiff’s attack on the evidence was fallacious.

Accordingly, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to remand, and retained jurisdiction over the action.