Category Archives Removal

Plaintiffs may not avoid removal under CAFA by amending their complaint after removal to restrict the class to nondiverse individuals, held the court in Pudlowski v. The St. Louis Rams, LLC, No. 4:16-CV-189-RLW, 2016 WL 5660237 (E.D. Mo. Sep. 29, 2016). In Pudlowski, Plaintiffs sued the Rams in a Missouri state court under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (“MMPA”), alleging that the Rams mislead them about the team’s future location and thus caused them to buy tickets, merchandise, and concessions. Id. at *1. Defendants removed the case to federal court under CAFA, the District Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to remand back to state court, and Defendants then appealed to the Eighth Circuit, which remanded to the Eastern District of Missouri, instructing the District Court to weigh two declarations from alleged class members. Id. at *2. Under CAFA, federal district courts have jurisdiction over class actions only if (among other requirements) there…

We all know that each defendant must consent to removal, which is easy when one or a couple of defendants are in the case.  But what do you do when the plaintiff has sued everyone under the sun and the clock is ticking?   Talk about a logistical nightmare. In Griffioen (no, that's not as typo - that's how the plaintiff spells his name), the plaintiffs in this putative class action sued a lot of entities, including some railroads, some corporations, some individuals, and some municipalities, over flood damage.  The theories and allegations aren't terribly important.  What is interesting is that certain defendants sought to remove the case to federal court, and while most of the defendants either signed the notice of removal or filed their own written indication of consent, some did not.  Instead, the removing defendants represented in their notice of removal that they had contacted counsel for…

Everybody’s talkin’ all this stuff about LLCs. Well, not exactly, but the Tenth Circuit is talking about LLC citizenship. Joining the chorus of every other circuit court to consider the issue, the Tenth Circuit recently held that citizenship of an unincorporated association (e.g., an LLC) for removal-diversity purposes is to be determined by reference to the citizenship of each of its members. See Siloam Springs Hotel, L.L.C. v. Century Sur. Co., No. 14-6119, 2015 WL 1430335 (10th Cir. Mar. 31, 2015). Were this a class action, the result would be different. For purposes of CAFA, said the Court in footnote 1, an LLC’s citizenship for removal-diversity purposes is determined in the same manner as a corporation—by its state of organization and principal place of business. Why the different result under CAFA? As the Tenth Circuit put it: Not my prerogative. The prerogative to expand the established citizenship rule for corporations…

The United States Supreme Court held on Monday that a defendant seeking removal under CAFA need only allege the jurisdictional amount in its notice of removal.  Gone are the days when a defendant must quickly muster an affidavit or other evidence to include in a notice of removal to prove the jurisdictional amount-in-controversy under CAFA. This case began when the District of Kansas remanded back to state court a class action concerning allegedly deficient royalty payments.  See Owens v. Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., No. 12-4157, 2013 WL 2237740 (D. Kan. May 21, 2013).  (We covered the history of this case here and here).  In Dart’s removal papers, it stated that the three requirements of CAFA had been met, and more specifically with regard to the amount-in-controversy, Dart stated the putative class members’ claims totaled more than $8.2 million.  Owens moved to remand the case to state court, asserting that…

Do consumers who buy kosher products for non-religious reasons have a legitimate "beef" with the manufacturer if the product turns out not to be kosher? In Wallace v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., 747 F.3d 1025 (8th Cir. 2014) the plaintiffs brought a putative nationwide class action alleging that food-industry conglomerate ConAgra violated various consumer protection laws by labeling their Hebrew National franks (hot dogs) as “Made with Premium Cuts of 100% Kosher Beef.” The plaintiffs alleged that the kosher inspection process was "defective and unreliable" because of the company's manufacturing quotas.  The district court granted ConAgra's motion to dismiss based on a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, agreeing that the plaintiff's claims were "barred"  because "the determination of whether a product is in fact 'kosher' [is] intrinsically religious in nature." Id. at 1028. The 8th Circuit, however, disagreed and vacated the district court's dismissal because it held that the plaintiffs actually lacked Article III standing,…

Happy belated New Year everyone.  We had a great first year here at the Missouri Kansas Class Action Blog and look to continue the trend into 2014.  Let's start off the new year with a look at a recent Supreme Court opinion involving the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA).  Although the 2012-13 term produced some important class action jurisprudence from the nation's highest court (which we wrote about here and here), the Supreme Court's decision in Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp., No. 12-1036 (U.S. Jan. 14, 2014) will probably not affect most practitioners; it is, however, blog-worthy because the Court resolved a circuit split on the issue and arguably narrows the reach of the statute based on the its plain meaning. In the case, the Mississippi attorney general filed a parens patriae action in state court against several liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturers for violating state antitrust and consumer protection…

Last week, the Eighth Circuit published its decision in Atwell v. Boston Scientific Corp., Nos. 13-8031, 13-8032, 13-8033, 2013 WL 6050762 (8th Cir. Nov. 18, 2013), where it held that three multiple-plaintiff actions alleging injury from transvaginal mesh collectively constituted a "mass action" under CAFA (the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005). Because of our firm's involvement in the case, we are going to direct you to the fine synopsis put together by the Drug & Device Law Blog.  Another comprehensive summary was published by Law360. We would also like to thank everyone who has read the blog during our first year of publication.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

This putative class rep really did not want to be in federal court. First, he attempted to avoid CAFA removal by stipulating that the putative class would seek less than $5 million.  Defendants filed a notice of removal, and ultimately prevailed (which we wrote about here). Months later, the Supreme Court unanimously held that such stipulations cannot bind putative class members and therefore cannot be used to defeat CAFA jurisdiction (which we discussed here).  Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, 133 S.Ct. 1345, 1348 (2013). Not wanting to be stuck in federal court, plaintiff got creative and cited Knowles as the basis for a motion to voluntarily dismiss his case and re-file in state court, arguing that "the reason for this dismissal is to re-file in state court a petition that complies with the dictates of Standard Fire and Casualty Company v. Knowles, which is not to rely on a…

We all know that defendants have the burden of establishing CAFA jurisdiction - i.e. minimal diversity, an amount-in-controversy exceeding $5 million, and at least 100 class members.  And we also know that the complaint, affidavits, declarations, discovery responses, or "other paper" may be used as evidence. But what about discovery responses filed in another case?  May a defendant use a plaintiff's discovery responses from a similar case to demonstrate more than $5 million is in controversy in the case at hand? No, at least where the discovery responses involve a different defendant and only one of two named plaintiffs. In three separate Missouri class actions, Mr. Dalton sued Walgreens, Staples and Target, alleging statutory and common-law claims based on defendants' practice of placing tracking files on plaintiffs' computers and harvesting information about their web-browsing, without being detected, for the purpose of tracking consumers' internet history and activities. In the cases…

Judge Gaitan, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District, recently issued an order answering what appears to be an issue of first impression for 8th Circuit courts: does a federal district court retain jurisdiction to rule on a motion for reconsideration on an order to remand made under CAFA?  In Wingo v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 13-3097, 2013 WL 3872199 (W.D. Mo. July 25, 2013), Judge Gaitan answered the question in the affirmative, continuing the broad interpretation in favor of federal jurisdiction for class actions under CAFA. Although Judge Gaitan noted the dearth of case law on the issue, he noted that the "Seventh Circuit has treated reconsideration by district courts in a CAFA case as a proper exercise of jurisdiction" and found such authority to be persuasive in the absence of any contrary authority. Id. at *2, citing Natale v. General Motors, No. 06–8011, 2006 WL…

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