Gibson v. Continental Resources, Inc. Case No. 5:15-cv-00611-M, (W.D. Okla. Oct. 8, 2015).
This order concerned a motion to remand a case to state court based on the plaintiff’s assertions that the defendant had not filed a sufficient removal notice.
The plaintiff brought a putative class action alleging that the defendant failed to make proper payments owed to her and the class members on royalty interests in oil wells. The defendant removed this case to federal court alleging jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d) and 1452. In its notice of removal, defendant stated that “hundreds” of royalty owners have out-of-state addresses, as its basis for establishing diversity of citizenship. Further, the defendant contended that the number of class members exceeded 100 and the alleged damages were in excess of $10 million.
The Court found that this information was sufficient to meet the Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S. Ct. 547 (2014) minimal diversity standard, and rejected plaintiff’s argument that defendant was required to establish the domicile of each class member. (Editors’ Note: See the CAFA Law Blog analysis of Dart Cherokee posted on August 26, 2014).
However, the Court did grant plaintiff’s request to stay its ruling on the motion to remand until after the plaintiff had conducted limited discovery regarding citizenship of the class members. Specifically, the Court noted that defendant’s submissions acknowledged that the percentage of putative class members with an Oklahoma address tripped the statutory threshold material to the ‘Interest of Justice’ exception in § 1332(d)(3), which allows the Court to decline jurisdiction (subject to other factors) over a class action in which greater than one-third but less than two-thirds of the members of all proposed plaintiff classes in the aggregate and the primary defendants are citizens of the State in which the action is brought.