Isaacs v. Pfizer, Inc., No. Civ. 05-0426, 2005 WL _________ (W.D. OK. June 21, 2005).
On the heels of Judge West’s decision in Awaida v. Pfizer, Inc., U. S. District Judge Joe Heaton, in another Oklahoma federal district court decision, emphasized that as long as a case is removed on or after February 18, 2005, it does not matter what time of the day on February 18th the case was filed. Annie Marie Isaacs filed a statewide class action suit against Pfizer in Oklahoma state court on behalf of persons who had taken the drug Bextra. The lawsuit was filed hours prior to President Bush signing the Class Action Fairness Act into law. After removal, Isaacs argued that CAFA was inapplicable because her suit was technically filed a few hours before President Bush signed the CAFA bill.
The Court rejected Isaac’s argument, and held that CAFA’s enactment provision states that it applies to “any civil action commenced on or after the date of enactment,” and that Isaac’s suit was filed on February 18, the date of enactment. The Court further reasoned that with respect to CAFA’s enactment date, “the law knows no division of a day,” and thus, CAFA was applicable.
The Court then addressed whether the $5 million jurisdictional requirement of CAFA was satisfied by Isaac’s suit, and in that regard, the Court recognized that Isaac was seeking restitution for the money spent by class members to purchase Bextra, restitution of profits that Pfizer made from the sale of Bextra, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and injunctive relief in the form of a medical monitoring program. Based on these requested remedies, and based on the fact that CAFA allows aggregation of the claims of putative class members, Judge Heaton concluded that the $5 million amount in controversy was satisfied, and accordingly, denied Isaac’s motion for remand.