King v. Safeway, Inc., No. C-08-0999, United States District Court, N.D. California, April 22, 2008.
In this case, the Defendant, Safeway, Inc., successfully removed the case under CAFA where the class was not limited to California citizens. Organic milk drinkers from adjoining states, the court determined, may have come to California stores to purchase the milk produced by those famous happy cows.
This one was such a slam-dunk for removal that the court decided the motion to remand on the papers without oral argument, so we’ll make it short and sweet, too. Here, the plaintiff filed suit on behalf of herself and a plaintiff class defined as “All persons in the State of California who purchased organic milk or milk products from Safeway” during a defined class period. The district court found that this definition did not create a class limited to California citizens and denied the plaintiff’s motion to remand after Safeway removed the case to federal court.
In support of its opposition to the motion to remand, Safeway produced a declaration stating that, in California, it has a number of stores that are close to, or touch, the borders of other states. The court, applying the “more likely than not” standard, found that Safeway thus met its burden of showing that likelihood that at least one person from another state would be a class member.
The court also noted that the plaintiff failed to establish that CAFA’s “home-state controversy” exception applied because her only support for that argument was the “erroneous assumption” that the class was defined to include only California citizens. Pardon us for going here, but you know we have to say it…the motion to remand was “udderly” ridiculous.
Please also note, if you’re a fan of milk ads and want to keep an eye on this case, that it’s been transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri as part of MDL No. 1907, In re Aurora Dairy Corp. Organic Milk Marketing and Sales Practice Litigation.