In re: General Motors Corp., “Piston Slap” Products Liability Litigation, No. MDL 04-1600, 2005 WL 1606445 (W.D. Okla. July 6, 2005).
In this multi-district consumer litigation, U. S. District Judge Joe Heaton entered an order dated July 6, 2005, finding that the court had federal subject matter jurisdiction related to nine putative class actions transferred by the MDL Panel, plus a state class action removed to the federal court. All of the cases relate to the same factual claims regarding an engine defect claimed by the plaintiffs – the “piston slap” allegedly caused by excess space between the piston and the cylinder walls.
The court raised the issue of the jurisdictional amount in controversy sua sponte, and had asked that the issue be briefed. General Motors then made various jurisdictional arguments, including raising CAFA. Implicitly finding that the underlying cases were filed before the date of CAFA’s enactment, the court quickly disposed of GM’s CAFA argument based on the Tenth Circuit’s “date of commencement” holding in Pritchett v. Office Depot, Inc., 404 F.3d 1232 (10th Cir. 2005), and declined to apply CAFA’s standards governing the evaluation of the jurisdictional amount in controversy.
The court concluded that the case nontheless satisfied the pre-CAFA requirements of federal subject matter jurisdiction, noting that the defendants’ costs to implement injunctive relief would exceed the $75,000 jurisdictional minumum amount in controversy.