CAFA’s Amount in Controversy Requirement Causes Plaintiff to Fall on Her Own Sword

The Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) makes it much easier for a defendant to remove a case from state to federal court. But there is one catch: the amount in controversy has to be more than $5 million. So, for defendants contemplating removal, questions abound: Is it wise to argue that the amount in controversy is greater than $5 million? Isn't it better to remain in state court and cap your damages? And what if you successfully argue that the plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $5 million? Can you turn around and argue that the damages are less after removal? If you do, will you be remanded? And, what is the upside to the removal process, anyway? 

Norris v. People's Credit Co., Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139327 (N.D. Ohio September 27, 2013) (Boyko, J.), illustrates why you may want to remove a class action to federal court even though you will have to establish that, from the plaintiff's perspective, the claim is worth more than $5 million. And, it illustrates some of the hidden benefits that may await the courageous class action defendant. For more, read the full article.

Class Action Fairness Act