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CAFA Law Blog Information, cases and insights regarding the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005

Just Because I Asked for Punitive Damages Doesn’t Mean I Wanted Punitive Damages

Posted in Case Summaries

Feldman v. Standard Fire Ins. Co., 2008 WL 2074431 (E.D. Ark.)

Joe Feldman decided to sue Standard Fire Insurance Company because it concealed the availability of lower priced policies that provided identical coverage. While he was at it, he decided to file as a class action. In his Complaint he alleged compensatory damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees. Probably because he reads the stimulating (in an intellectual sort of way) CAFA Law Blog every day, he stated that his claims does not exceed $74,999.00 and that the claim of the class does not exceed $4,999,999.00. 

Problem for Joe was that he included some language about punitive damages. Standard, being the keen insurance company it is, and also a faithful reader of the dynamic CAFA Law Blog, promptly removed the matter based on CAFA jurisdiction. 

Not to be outdone, Joe used the old “it was a typo” excuse and he did not want punitive damages anymore. The judge agreed and determined that the only damages recoverable were for disgorgement of the difference in price between the two policies. This amount was well below the CAFA $5 million requirement. Thus, the matter was remanded to state court.

Lesson: Be careful what you ask for, but if you are not, just say it was a typo.