Note: Class Certification as a Prerequisite for CAFA Jurisdiction
By Kevin Lampone. Full text here.
The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) expands federal diversity jurisdiction to include many class actions asserting only state law claims; however, the statute fails to spell out if its jurisdiction continues after a court denies class certification, thereby determining that the putative class is not, in fact, a class within Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Courts interpreting the statute have reached varied and conflicting conclusions when confronted with the issue of what effect, if any, the denial of class certification has on CAFA jurisdiction. The few courts of appeals to address the issue have concluded that class certification has no effect on CAFA jurisdiction, but their reasons for reaching that conclusion include a misplaced focus on ambiguous text and a misapplication of jurisdictional principles.
The Note explains why those reasons cannot support continued CAFA jurisdiction, argues that such cases removed to federal court through CAFA must be remanded, and considers the effects of such an approach.