Sneddon v. Hotwire, Inc., No. C 05-0951 SI, 2005 WL 1593593 (N.D.Cal. June 29, 2005).
California Federal District Judge Susan Illston granted the plaintiffs’ motion to remand to state court three consolidated putative class actions involving Internet travel services (discounted hotel rooms) originally filed in San Francisco Superior Court in January and February of 2005, and removed by the defendant to federal court under CAFA based on the date of commencement of the actions, but denied plaintiffs’ motion for costs and attorney’s fees.

Looking to reported decisions across the country, including Pritchett v. Office Depot, Inc., 404 F.3d 1232 (10th Cir. 2005), the district court declared that the courts have “unanimously considered” the “commencement” date of an action under CAFA to be “the date the action is filed in state court, not when the case is removed to federal court.” The court also held that since CAFA did not apply to the removed action, CAFA’s provision allowing the aggregation of plaintiffs’ claims to meet the jurisdictional amount in controversy requirement could not be used in these cases, and remanded the cases to state court.
However, the court declined to award the plaintiffs their requested attorney’s fees and costs, noting that the removal by the defendants “was prompt and the issue raised was a new one.”