McAnaney v. Astoria Financial Services Corporation, No. 04 cv 1101 ADS WDW, 2005 WL 2857715 (E.D. NY November 1, 2005).
By now, as virtually everyone following CAFA knows (and as defendants have been repeatedly told), a defendant cannot use the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 to remove a plaintiff’s case filed before the February 18, 2005 effective date of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (except in limited circumstances). Now, for the flip side: New York federal District Judge Arthur D. Spatt has ruled that CAFA was likewise unavailable to class action plaintiffs seeking to amend their pleadings to add CAFA’s jurisdictional provisions, since the plaintiffs had filed their original action in 2004, long before CAFA’s effective date. The plaintiffs sought leave of the court to amend, post-CAFA, to add two new claims – the first, to incorporate the new CAFA jurisdictional provisions, to which the defendants objected, and the second, to add a new state law claim under the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law regarding payoff letters, to which the defendants did not object.
Although the parties agreed that the state law claims as proposed in the amended complaint related back to the original filing, Judge Spatt noted that CAFA is not retroactive by its terms, and since the case was “commenced” in 2004 before the adoption of CAFA, the Act “has no bearing on this case.” The court granted the plaintiffs’ motion to file their amended complaint to propose their new state law claims, but denied the motion as to the proposed addition of a jurisdictional provision under the Class Action Fairness Act.