Colomar v. Mercy Hospital, Inc., civil action no. 05-22409, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.

So there was Barbara Cololmar, purported class representative, telling the District Court that there was no place like state court. The Court essentially told Colomar that she could click her heels as many times as she wanted, she wasn’t going back to State Court Land. Let’s back up so you don’t get lost.

Once upon a time, in a far away Florida town, Barbara Colomar checked in to a hospital due to shortness of breath. Then she received the bill which took her breath away again. Barb couldn’t believe what the hospital had charged her, and she was fightin’ mad! Barb’s friends joined her fight (See NOTE below), and she filed a purported class action in Florida state court against the hospital (Mercy – a place at which she received no Mercy), a Florida resident, and a second diverse defendant. Just then, a procedural tornado blew through South Florida, and Barb’s fight was removed to Federal Court Land.

Barb was woozy, and was heard muttering that she “wasn’t in State Court Land anymore.” Indeed, Federal Court Land was very different. Barb was startled by procedural munchkins dancing gleefully in the court house library. Her lawyers rushed over to see just what the commotion was all about. As she surveyed this strange land, she couldn’t help but notice the Motion-brick road spinning from the Federal Court toward what had to be state court. She was even more puzzled as to why each piece of paper had the words Motion to Remand emblazoned across them. She bent down to ask one of the little dancers “Where am I? What is happening? Why are you so happy?” 

The munchkin eagerly replied, “You are in Federal Court, but your diverse defendant has been squashed, killing even the minimal diversity that allowed your complaint to be removed here in the first place.” Barb and her lawyers believed that she could get back home to state court, if only she could find someone to help her. Surely that someone was the District Judge. But that didn’t quite work out so good.

Barb followed the motion-brick road all the way to the majestic courtroom. She approached the bench, clad, of course, with her Prada ruby slippers, looked at the Judge, clicked her heels three times and told the court that (1) the diverse defendant had been dismissed; (2) that all of the primary defendants were Florida residents; and (3) her case now fell under the home-state controversy exemption and she should be allowed to go home. Specifically, Colomar argued that “the Court’s subsequent dismissal [the squashing referenced above] of diverse co-Defendant … divests the Court of any continuing CAFA jurisdiction…” 

The all-powerful Judge disagreed, (of course with fire billowing up and with echoing voice) stating that “case developments subsequent to removal do not alter the courts’ CAFA jurisdiction, if jurisdiction was proper at the time of removal [as it was in this instance].” Importantly, the Court noted that while CAFA did alter “some traditional jurisdictional notions-such as the complete diversity requirement- there is nothing in CAFA suggesting that the time for assessing removal jurisdiction as been modified.” Dorothy … sorry, we mean Barbara was stuck in Federal Court.

At last note, our investigators saw flying monkeys preventing Barbara from running back to state court. To date, no one knows just where Toto is.

NOTE: The editors of the CAFa Law Blog would, at this point in the yarn, advise the readers that our investigators have not been able to determine if “Scarecrow,” “Tin-Man,” or the “Cowardly Lion” were purported class members. Word on the street has it that at or around the same time that Barb was receiving treatment at Mercy hospital, the Scarecrow had been the victim of a vicious goat attack that cost him his arm; the Tin-Man had been complaining of “stiffness” in the joints; and the Lion had stepped on a splinter that needed removing, leading many to believe they were all part of the purported plaintiff class. We will keep our readers posted as we learn more.