Coy Chiropractic Health Center, Inc.  v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Company, No. 06-678-DRH, 2007 WL 2122420 (S.D. Ill. July 20, 2007).

And they said it (federal court jurisdiction) would never last…well, this time they were right. The Editors cordially invite you to review this, our second post on Dr. Richard Coy and his “silent PPO” class actions. (Editors’ Note:  See the CAFA Law Blog analysis of Coy v. Country Mutual posted on February, 23, 2007, in which SDIL Judge Reagan ruled a post-CAFA amendment was enough to keep the (un)happy couple in federal court).

In this post, we find Travelers Casualty & Surety Company to be the target of Coy’s (dis)affection. Coy filed a class action complaint in state court against Travelers a few days before CAFA’s effective date, alleging Travelers paid reduced rates similar to those negotiated with other providers under preferred provider organization agreements, although no such agreements existed between Travelers and the class claimants and Travelers did not funnel or refer Travelers insureds to Coy for treatment. 

After an eighteen month long (state) court-ship, the plaintiff Coy-ly attempted to amend in August 2006 to add an alternative theory of recovery: breach of contract. Perhaps aching with longing for federal court bliss, perhaps hoping to avoid the “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” cliché and take its turn walking down the federal court aisle, Travelers jumped at the chance to have its big day in federal court.   Coy’s post-CAFA proposal to amend the lawsuit was swept off its feet into federal court by a Travelers’ removal. Hoping for a quick annulment, Coy moved for remand, arguing (1) the state court never granted leave to file the proposed amended complaint; and (2) the amended allegations of the complaint related back to the date of filing of the original complaint such that the case did not commence after CAFA’s effective date.

For anyone who still had not yet sent a gift nearly a year later, you can thank Southern District of Illinois Judge Herndon for saving you from an etiquette faux pas, because on July 20, 2007, he returned the case to state court. Recognizing the existence of some authority (one district court case) that a request for leave to amend could trigger removability under CAFA, the court focused on whether the allegations of the amended complaint would relate back. Following the Seventh Circuit precedent and Illinois law, the court stated the amended complaint would relate back if it arose out of the same transaction or occurrence that gave rise to the original pleading, when the original pleading gave the defendant all the information it needed to be able to defend against the allegations in the amended pleading, regardless of the theory of recovery upon which it is predicated.

Here, the amended complaint “added no new parties, did not affect the size of the class, and [did] nothing to enlarge the scope of Defendants’ potential liability.” Instead, the amendment “merely added an additional legal theory sounding in contract on the basis of facts clearly alleged” in the original complaint. Thus, the court concluded the original complaint provided Travelers with all the information necessary to prepare its defense to the claim asserted in the amended complaint. As a result, the amended complaint related back and did not commence a new action.  Accordingly, the court granted the motion to remand and sent the jilted defendant back to state court. 

So now Dr. Coy has one class action in federal court against Country Mutual, and another against Travelers in state court. Is polygamy legal in Illinois?