James M. Garner, Congressional Welcome To Federal Court—The Class Action Fairness Act: Has The Party Just Begun?, 80 Tul. L. Rev. 1669 (2006).
Although not quite as entertaining as watching Bret Maverick talk his way out of a tough situation, this article authored by James M. Garner, (Sorry, couldn’t pass it up) provides a summary of commencement rulings, and suggests an alternative to the traditional Rule 15 analysis generally conducted by courts facing the commencement issue. Garner’s piece breaks down the common contingencies producing a CAFA commencement battle such as amending a complaint to add claims, defendants, or class representative, and gives the reader an idea of the amendments’ likely effect by reviewing opinions dealing with the issue. Garner engages in a little Maverick-esque conduct by coming up with his own lingo – he coins the term “Knudsen I Commencements” for any amendment resulting in a post-CAFA commencement date. He also throws out an alternative to a Rule 15 analysis based on picking up CAFA’s jurisdictional goals to analyze post-CAFA amendments while discarding Rule 15’s notice and prejudice requirements.
Bottom Line: As my old pappy used to say, work is fine for killin’ time, but it’s a shaky way to make a living. Read it if you need a commencement road map, otherwise it would be work.