Beasley v. Prudential General Insurance Company, 05-4026 (W.D. Ark. Oct. 31, 2005).
The plaintiffs commenced this class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Miller County, Arkansas on February 7, 2005, against multiple insurance company defendants asserting unjust enrichment, fraud and constructive fraud resulting in “improperly profiting” by the insurance companies refusing to pay general contractors’ profit and overhead in conjunction with insured loss or damage to real property. On March 28, 2005, Harford Insurance Company of the Midwest, one of the defendants, removed the action to the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs’ motion to remand was centered around the lack of federal jurisdiction under Section 1332(a)(1), and while the parties stipulated that there was complete diversity, the requirement that there be at least $75,000 amount in controversy presented a major hurdle for the defendants, since the plaintiffs had limited their prayer to less than $75,000 per plaintiff. Prudential argued that its costs to implement the measures for which plaintiffs sought injunctive relief would far exceed the $75,000 amount in controversy requirement. Prudential also raised the argument that the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 should impact the court’s view of the amount-in-controversy issue.
United States District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren quickly dispatched of Hartford’s argument that CAFA applied, citing Pritchett v. Office Depot, Inc., 420 F.3d 1090 (10th Cir. 2005) (Editor’s Note: See CAFA Law Blog summary of Pritchett posted on October 23, 2005), and Bush v. Cheaptickets, Inc., 2005 WL 2456926 (9th Cir. Oct. 6, 2005)(Editor’s Note: See CAFA Law Blog summary posted on October 23, 2005) to support his conclusion that CAFA is not retroactive.