Delaney v. Landry’s Restaurants, Inc., No. 09-cv-1421 (D. N.J. Oct. 21, 2009)

9,269 gift cards can buy a lot of shrimp platters, but they are not redeemable for CAFA jurisdiction if your calculation of the maximum damages per putative class member is tad low. 

This action arose from the sale of Landry’s Restaurants gift cards that allegedly violated New Jersey law by failing to include certain fee disclaimers. The defendant removed under CAFA based on the sale of approximately 10,000 in New Jersey in the relevant time period and $520 maximum damages per putative class member. [$520 + four zeroes = more than enough to satisfy CAFA’s amount-in-controversy requirement].

Unfortunately, after discovery revealed that only 9,269 gift cards were sold in the relevant period, the defendant could not find $19 to add to the damages figure and the $520 amount stuck. [$520 x 9,269 = remand]. The rule that amount-in-controversy is assessed at the time of removal could not save jurisdiction, where, as here, the evidence was only revealed after removal and did not depend on events after removal.