Miara v. First Allmerica Financial Life Insurance Co., No. Civ. A. 04-12188-WGY, 2005 WL 1463299 (D. Mass. June 16, 2005).
In this largely non-CAFA related case, Massachusetts U. S. Chief District Judge William G. Young opens his opinion in a most interesting fashion, by posing this law school exam question: plaintiff A sues defendant B in state court for misrepresentation and other state law claims for the sale of a product – a pension and profit-sharing plan – which doesn’t function in the manner represented, and the defendant removes on ERISA preemption grounds and also moves to dismiss, arguing that ERISA provides no actionable remedy and in fact, extinguishes the claims. What should the court do? Judge Young then provides a multiple choice answer, giving four reasons to remand, and a fifth choice – “all of the above”, which Judge Young says is the correct answer. Maybe. If only law school professors would give full credit for exam questions answered with a “maybe.” Or, for that matter, judges.
In considering whether the defendant properly removed this state court lawsuit to federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the court remarked in a footnote that the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 provides a vehicle for the immediate appeal of a remand decision. The court noted that, under CAFA, the appellant must file the appeal not less than 7 days from the entry of an order remanding the case to state court, and that the court of appeals must decide the matter within 60 days, unless an extension is allowed. Other than this brief reference to the new appeal rights granted by CAFA, the court neither discussed nor applied CAFA, as the case was not removed under CAFA’s new jurisdictional rules.