Early Saturday morning (September 27) we were tossing and turning trying to digest a recent CAFA opinion by a judge who just did not understand the reason behind CAFA. Or was it the several glasses of Tangley Oaks Merlot from Friday night that was keeping us up? Not sure.
Anyway, since we couldn’t sleep, we did like many of you..we surfed the internet new YouTube videos. Yes, we are lonely sometimes. While we were surfing, we checked our email, and lo and behold, we had received an email inquiry from one of our smart readers, who was also up very early on a Saturday morning.
Here is the question that our reader was pondering so early on a Saturday morning:
This may seem obvious, but even the Rutter Guide does not have a definitive answer. Can CAFA minimal diversity be asserted by the plaintiff to gain original jurisdiction in federal court OR is it limited to removal jurisdiction? Are there any cases specifically ruling on this question?
Saturday night while we were drinking more red wine and watching a number of highly ranked college football teams fall from grace we came up with this erudite answer:
Jeffrey – thanks for the inquiry – we think that Section 1332(d)(2) clearly gives the federal courts original jurisdiction over class action under CAFA, as long as there are 100 or more plaintiffs, $5,000,000 or more amount in controversy, and minimal diversity.
Here is a link to an article written by several of the blog editors on the topic – http://www.mcglinchey.com/images/pdf/1_int2E.PDF
There are also a number of cases on the CAFA Law Blog that so hold. If you enter the search terms “original jurisdiction” or “1332(d)” in the search box on the CAFA Law Blog site, a number of cases will come up, although a bunch of these discuss removal as well.
Here are a couple of examples of the original jurisdiction issue: read the Steinberg v. Nationwide case. (Editors’ Note: See the CAFA Law Blog analysis of the Nationwide case posted on June 22, 2006). It was originally filed in federal court, and the court kept it there.
Also, take a look also at the Duruaku v. BB&T Bank case. (Editors’ Note: See the CAFA Law Blog analysis of BB&T posted on August 15, 2006). The plaintiff didn’t plead the minimum jurisdictional requirements to keep the case in federal court with only 26 plaintiffs.
The Arabian v. Sony Electronics case also has a pretty good discussion of the original jurisdiction provisions. (Editors’ Note: See the CAFA Law Blog analysis of Sony posted on July 17, 2008).
There are more on the blog. Thanks for the inquiry and for reading the blog, and we hope this is helpful.