In a 5-to-4 opinion released on December 15, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court eased the process by which civil defendants may remove state court class actions to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). The case, Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, addressed the burden of proof a removing party bears when asserting a class action’s potential value exceeds $5 million–the minimum amount necessary to invoke federal jurisdiction under CAFA. The Court held that a removing party need only assert “a plausible allegation” of the amount in controversy and need not assert any evidence of the case’s value unless CAFA jurisdiction is later challenged.
(Click here for a full article from The National Law Review)
The Class Action Fairness Act was enacted in 2005 and largely eliminated state court jurisdiction over putative class actions involving over 100 individuals at a value of $5 million or more. CAFA’s passage required both plaintiffs and attorneys seeking possible class relief to become intimately familiar with the oftentimes strenuous procedures of federal litigation. The Supreme Court’s ruling in this case only underscores this necessity.
The litigation team at Chappell Smith and Arden, P.A. possesses substantial experience litigating individual, complex, and class actions in federal court. Attorneys Mark Chappell, Hugh McAngus, Jr., and Graham Newman have all been certified as “Class Counsel” by the South Carolina federal district court and have experience litigating complex and class actions before the United States District Court, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court.