Shepard v. Vintage Pharmaceuticals, LLC, 2015 WL 11142456 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 7, 2015).

Another action succumbs to the adage that post removal events do not divest federal jurisdiction over actions removed under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”).

Plaintiff, Lauren Betancourt, brought a proposed products liability class action in the state court of Cobb County seeking to recover damages for injuries arising from her purchase and consumption of allegedly defective birth control pills. The case was removed as a putative class action having federal diversity under CAFA.  After the Northern District Court of Georgia, Atlanta Division (“District Court”) denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, the plaintiffs moved to remand the action to the state court.

The defendants opposed the motion on two bases: (1) once removal jurisdiction has been established, subsequent events do not divest the court of jurisdiction; and (2) even if the court determined that it no longer has jurisdiction over the case through CAFA, the court can still exercise diversity jurisdiction due to the value of the plaintiffs’ alleged damages.

The District Court noted that this case was originally filed in state court and removed to the District Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under CAFA. Accordingly, the District Court opined that this case fell into the “species” of subject matter jurisdiction known as “removal jurisdiction.”  In “removal jurisdiction” cases, events subsequent to removal do not divest the federal court of jurisdiction. See Poore v. American-Amicable Life Ins. Co., 218 F.3d 1287, 1290-91 (11th Cir. 2000).

Next, the District Court observed that the Eleventh Circuit held in Vega v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 564 F.3d 1256 (11th Cir. 2009), that an order denying class certification was a post-removal event that did not alter jurisdiction.  Because this case was subject to “removal jurisdiction,” the District Court concluded that it retained jurisdiction over this action as denial of class certification was not an event that divested it of jurisdiction.

Accordingly, the District Court denied the plaintiffs’ motion to remand.