Schemmer v. ChartONE, Inc., No. 1:05-cv-02923 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 1, 2006).
Apparently ChartONE’s brief in support of its removal petition was such an exceptional play that the defendant was awarded two (count ‘um) Buckeyes for its headgear in the form of a two page opinion (including the fact summary) denying the plaintiffs’ motion to remand this class action removed to federal court claiming jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act. U. S. District Judge Ann Aldrich, writing for the Northern District of Ohio, wasted neither time nor ink in awarding the defendant’s removal of this putative class action, which was initially filed in Ohio state court for allegedly knowingly overcharging the named plaintiffs for their medical records, claiming CAFA jurisdiction. Had the plaintiffs not thrown the "Hail Mary" of the amount in controversy, the opinion might have been even shorter.
Challenging the defendant’s play for federal court, the plaintiffs argued that “under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the case must be remanded to state court unless each individual plaintiff brings a claim for damages of $75,000 or more,” and since none of the plaintiffs claimed independent damages of more than $75,000, they thought they would be playing on their terms in state court. They probably should have read the CAFA playbook a little more closely.
However, ChartONE blitzed, and blindsided them with CAFA, rolling them up into federal court to stay. Judge Aldrich ruled, “[t]he Class Action Fairness Act . . . confers federal diversity jurisdiction over [certain] class actions where the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. It abrogates the [prior] rule against aggregating claims.” And it was over as soon as it had begun, as the court concluded the remand motion should be denied since the plaintiffs did not dispute the $5 million dollar amount in controversy was satisfied.
Editor’s Note: Mel Kiper has predicted that ChartONE could go early in the draft, possibly to the Lions or Cardinals, if it continues to play at this level.