Sanchez v. Wal-Mart, Inc., 2007 WL 1345706 (E.D. Cal. 2007).

A $20 baby stroller equals CAFA removal in this amount in controversy fight between America’s largest retailer and a putative class.  Our guess is that the people at Wal-Mart Watch are not happy with this decision.

Sanchez brought an action against Wal-Mart and a stroller manufacturer for making and selling a defective stroller. She brought her action on behalf of a class, but she did not allege a specific amount in controversy. The defendants promptly removed the case based on CAFA. They alleged that the sum of potential compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees would likely exceed $5,000,000.00. Sanchez disagreed, so she sought remand.

Staying in line with the 9th Circuit, the California District Court determined that the defendants must establish by a preponderance of evidence the requisite amount in controversy, since the plaintiff failed to specify an amount in her complaint. 

The defendants produced declarations by a data warehouse/business intelligence analyst for the manufacturer that it sold 250,000 strollers at a price between $20.00 and $30.00. What do you know?  When you multiply 250,000 strollers by $20.00 a piece, you get $5,000,000.  What a surprise!  The court found this declaration sufficient and refused to remand the case.