Cram v. Electronic Data Systems Corp., 2007 WL 2904250 (S.D.Cal. 2007).

You’d think in Southern California there be something more interesting than the minimum amount of controversy in a CAFA removal case. But the editors of CAFA Law Blog love nothing more than a good ‘ole pre-remand discovery dispute. Sick, isn’t it?

We’ve seen this scenario before: The plaintiffs file a putative class action in state court; the defendant removes the putative class action to federal court based on CAFA. Both agree to numerosity and diversity, but they disagree on the amount in controversy. The plaintiffs claim the amount doesn’t exceed the $5,000,000.00 CAFA threshold; yet, the defendant believes that it does.

In this case, it seems the defendant did not want to show its hand (as in Mr. Hand), except through informal means. The plaintiffs, being the highly formal Southern California type (I’m still looking for this type – think Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High), insisted on an order from the court allowing pre-hearing discovery. They contended that if they were not permitted to discover information solely in the defendant’s possession regarding the amount in controversy, they would be unduly prejudiced in litigating their remand motion.

The court noted that the defendant did not raise any substantive objections to the plaintiffs’ motion. Additionally, the court took into account the defendant’s suggestion of informal discovery and the liberal discovery rules allowed by the Ninth Circuit. With these factors in mind, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion and allowed both parties to conduct expedited discovery limited to 10 interrogatories. In the words of Spicoli – Awesome! Totally Awesome!