Smith v. Pfizer, Inc., 05-cv-0112-MJR (S.D. Ill. March 24, 2005)
In this case, the plaintiff, Mary Smith, filed her putative class action against Pfizer in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois, on December 28, 2004, regarding the prescription pain relief drug, Bextra. She sought the costs of medical monitoring and testing for early detection of injuries which might occur from ingesting the drug. Smith expressly did not sue for any personal injuries suffered by her or any other class members. Pfizer removed, citing federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.

United States District Judge Michael J. Reagan, writing for the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, dismissed Pfizer’s argument that CAFA applied to the litigation. Judge Reagan initially conducted a pre-CAFA federal jurisdictional analysis, ultimately deciding that Pfizer could not show the requisite $75,000 amount in controversy necessary to maintain the action in federal court. Pfizer then tried to invoke CAFA jurisdiction, arguing that “commenced” meant the date the case was removed to federal court, rather than the date the complaint was initially filed in state court. Judge Reagan pointed to both the plain reading of the statute and the legislative history to show that CAFA was never intended to apply retroactively, and like all of the other courts to consider the particular question, remanded to case to state court.
Editor’s Note: This case, although decided in March, 2005, has been summarized and posted on the CAFA Law Blog at this later date as part of our continuing efforts to ensure that all of the major cases decided this year mentioning the Class Action Fairness Act are covered by the blog.