Mathews v. ALC Partner Inc., No. 4:08-cv-10636, — F.Supp.2d —-, 2009 WL 2390526 (E.D. Mich. July 31, 2009)

The Zen philosopher Basho once wrote, “A flute with no hole, is not a flute; and a CAFA argument with no evidence of $5 million in controversy is dismissed.” He was a funny guy.

The plaintiffs in Mathews v. ALC Partner Inc. brought a multi-state class action against their employer alleging that a failure to compensate them for hours worked violated federal and state wage and benefits laws. Fighting a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss the state law claims, the plaintiffs argued that CAFA’s amount in controversy requirement would be met if only 4 plaintiffs from each of the employer’s 84 offices presented individual claims of $15,000. “Trust us,” they said, “our lawyers did the math.” Hypothetically speaking, they were right.

Finding “no fault with the plaintiffs’ arithmetic,” the district court was forced to rely on evidence on reality and granted the motion to dismiss because the plaintiffs presented no underlying facts to support their allegations. Perhaps anticipating future high quality work such as this, the district court also declined to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.