Mcpeters v. Bayer Corp., 2017 WL 57250 (E.D. Mo. Jan. 5, 2017).

In remanding this case back to state court, a Missouri District Court  found that cases involving fewer than 100 plaintiffs cannot be removed under CAFA through a defendant’s call for consolidation of similar cases, which would increase the amount of plaintiffs to reach the CAFA threshold.

Ninety-four women brought suit in the Eastern District of Missouri, alleging that they suffered injuries resulting from the use of Essure, a permanent birth control system manufactured by the defendants.

The defendants removed the case to federal court on several grounds, one of which was CAFA. The plaintiffs then moved to remand.

The defendants argued that this case, involving only ninety-four plaintiffs, should be considered along with eight other Essure cases filed in the Eastern District of Missouri because the cases contained the same substantive allegations and causes of action and were filed by the same counsel in the same jurisdiction.  Consolidating the cases would push the plaintiff class well over the 100-plaintiff CAFA threshold.

The defendants based their argument on CAFA’s “mass action” provision, which provides that federal courts have jurisdiction over civil actions in which “monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact…”

The District Court rejected the defendants’ contentions, noting that the mass action provision specifically excludes any civil action in which the claims are joined upon motion of a defendant. For the mass action provision to apply, the plaintiffs would have to elect to try their cases jointly, which they did not do here.

Consequently, the Court concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case, through CAFA or otherwise, and granted the plaintiffs’ motion to remand.

Posted by Amanda Laviage