Lander and Berkowitz, P.C. v. Transfirst Health Services, Inc., Case No. 4:05cv527, 2005 WL 1457910 (E. D. Mo. May 19, 2005)
U. S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel found that the federal court did not have jurisdiction under CAFA in this removed case, since the case was “commenced” prior to CAFA’s effective date. Lander and Berkowitz, P.C., filed their Missouri state court class action against Transfirst Health Services and others on February 17, 2005, the day on which Congress passed CAFA and the day before President Bush signed CAFA into law on February 18th.
The defendants removed the case, claiming original subject matter jurisdiction under CAFA, and the plaintiffs filed their motion to remand on the grounds that CAFA was not applicable since the action was filed before its effective date. The Court interpreted Section 9 of CAFA, which states, “[t]he amendments made by this Act shall apply to any civil action commenced on or after the date of enactment of this Act.” The defendants argued that Congressional enactment on February 17th was the effective date, not the date on which the President signed the legislation. The Court concurred with the plaintiffs’ argument that presidential signature is required before an act becomes law. The Court found that the date of enactment of CAFA was February 18, 2005, the day on which it was signed into law by President Bush, and thus the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under CAFA.
Two asides: First, plaintiffs requested attorney’s fees for the wrongful removal, which was summarily denied by the Court.
Second (an item which has received some media attention), the Court footnotes the children’s television series “Schoolhouse Rock” and its episode entitled I’m Just a Bill, and quotes from the popular rhyme, emphasizing that Congress passes bills and that presidential signature is required for a bill to become law.