Three of the editors of the CAFA Law Blog, Anthony Rollo, Hunter Twiford, and Gabe Crowson, have recently written an article suggesting the use of the legislative history of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 to help practitioners in the class action arena interpret some of the unresolved uncertainties in the Act. The article, entitled “Resorting to CAFA’s Legislative History Resolves Some Ambiguities,” is published in the Consumer Financial Services Law Report, Vol. 9, Issue 10 (November 2, 2005).
The writers discuss the legislative history of the Act, including the Senate Judiciary Committee Report published on February 28, 2005, ten days after CAFA’s effective date, and the House “Sponsors’ Statement” inserted on February 17, 2005, the day the House passed CAFA, and the substantial weight they should be accorded in interpreting CAFA’s provisions.
Among the facially uncertain areas the authors suggest would benefit from a study of the legislative history are the question of who should bear the burden of proof in removal disputes (which both the Senate Report and the Sponsors’ Statement clearly indicate should be placed squarely on the plaintiff challenging the propriety of the removal), and the issue of strict versus broad interpretation of the removal rules under CAFA (with the legislative history falling on the side of broad interpretation so as comply with the “strong preference that interstate class actions be heard in a federal court if removed by any defendant,” expressed in both the Senate Report and the Sponsors’ Statement). The amount in controversy changes under CAFA are also discussed and analyzed in the article.
The full text of the legislative history article is available on the CAFA Law Blog, and is published with the express permission of the Consumer Financial Services Law Report and LRP Publications, Inc. The article is copyright 2005 by LRP, all rights reserved, and is reprinted on the CAFA Law Blog site with permission.
The Editors of the CAFA Law Blog thank Consumer Financial Services Law Report and LRP for their continuing support in publishing articles related to CAFA. Anthony, Hunter and Gabe also welcome comments from the readers of the CAFA Law Blog as to the contents of and opinions expressed in the article.