Lawrence Hurley, Two Years On, Class-Action Law Brings Unclear Effect, Daily Journal (2007).

In an article out of the Daily Journal, Elizabeth Cabraser of the plaintiffs’ firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, is quoted by Lawrence Hurley as declaring that regarding CAFA: “In purely practical terms, we haven’t seen any catastrophic ramifications yet.” The article focuses on CAFA’s effects, or lack thereof, on certain areas of class action practice in the almost two years since its enactment. What’s the verdict on CAFA’s first two years? Well, the collective opinion seems to be – it’s too early to tell.

The defense attorneys consulted in the article seemed to be generally happy about CAFA’s effects. John Beisner, a member of a Washington D.C. based defense firm, says he thinks CAFA “has generally had the impact people wanted.” Cabraser agreed – sorta. She believes that CAFA will produce a bottleneck of class action cases in federal court, and claims this is exactly what supporters of the legislation “secretly” wanted. Cabraser explained, “[i]f nothing happens, the plaintiffs run out of money or lost interest.”

Besides the pontification about CAFA’s past and future effects, the article also touches on CAFA’s burden of proof issue, noting the confusion over who bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Cabraser opined: “It’s the first question in CAFA that’s leading to a circuit split and important enough for Supreme Court review.”

Bottom Line: Insights from class action practitioners on CAFA’s effects thus far, with some crystal ball gazing thrown in for fun.