How often does this happen? The plaintiffs file a class action lawsuit. The defendant moves to dismiss. The district court rules. The aggrieved party appeals. The appellate court decides, sua sponte, that it didn’t have subject matter jurisdiction in the first place. Both sides file petitions for rehearing, and both make very similar arguments as to why the appellate court is wrong. Not your ordinary, everyday occurrence in the class action litigation world, but then, Cappuccitti isn’t your ordinary, everyday class action case.
The plaintiffs have now filed their petition for rehearing en banc in the Cappuccitti v. DIRECTV litigation, setting out substantially similar arguments as did the defendant, DIRECTV, in opposition to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision adding the previously unknown requirement that at least one named plaintiff must allege a minimum of $75,000 in controversy in order to have federal jurisdiction under CAFA. The CAFA Law Blog has covered Cappuccitti pretty extensively, writing a post on the decision, publishing several guest posts and links to other blogs discussing the case, and posting the petition for rehearing filed by DIRECTV. Now, here’s the plaintiffs’ motion for rehearing en banc.
The plaintiffs make three arguments: first, that both CAFA’s text and legislative history clearly establish that there is no individual $75,000 amount-in-controversy requirement (with several subpart arguments under that heading); second, that removal jurisdiction is not distinct and different from original jurisdiction, a distinction apparently made by the Eleventh Circuit; and third, this new rule denying federal jurisdiction for class actions in which no plaintiff meets the $75,000 requirement would result in confusion and inefficiency.
We at the CAFA Law Blog happen to pretty much agree with all three of these arguments – take a look at the paper we recently wrote: “An Analysis of Cappuccitti: Eleventh Circuit Panel Adds New Amount in Controversy Requirement to CAFA Jurisdiction” by Anthony Rollo, H. Hunter Twiford, Richard A. Freshwater and Stephen T. Masley published in the August, 2010 edition of the BNA Class Action Litigation Report.
We’ll also keep you posted as new developments occur in the litigation. We’re expecting some amicus briefs to be filed, and we’ll try to bring you those, too, since none of the petitions and briefs are currently available online through PACER.