PHLD Partnership v. Arch Specialty Insurance Company, 565 F.Supp. 2d 1342 (S.D. Fla. 2008)

If one is going to take it upon themselves to remove a case under CAFA jurisdiction, one should take the time to read the provisions of CAFA … all of them.

In this case, the plaintiff filed a class action in state court alleging that the defendant, Arch Specialty Insurance Company (“Arch”), issued insurance policies that contained separate hurricane deductibles and co-insurance penalties without the notice required under Florida law. 

Arch promptly removed the matter to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida under CAFA, and the plaintiff moved to remand. 

Following Eleventh Circuit precedent, the Court held that a party removing a case under CAFA has the burden to show that (1) the number of plaintiffs and all proposed plaintiff classes exceeds 100, (2) any member of the plaintiff class is diverse from any defendant, and (3) the aggregate of the claims of individual class members exceeds $5,000,000.00, exclusive of interests and costs.

The second element was readily apparent, and neither side disputed that it was satisfied. Regarding the third element, Arch filed an affidavit of its then vice president stating that the aggregate amount of the plaintiffs’ claim was in excess of $5,000,000.00. 

Arch neither mentioned nor presented any evidence regarding whether the number of plaintiffs exceeded 100. Why was this never mentioned?  We don’t know. 

Not surprisingly, the case was remanded to state court because Arch failed to meet its burden with respect to ALL the jurisdictional requirements of CAFA.  

Practice Pointer:  Make sure you address all of the jurisdictional requirements of CAFA.