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Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles: Supreme Court To Decide Whether Plaintiffs May Evade Federal Jurisdiction Under CAFA By Stipulating That They Seek Less Than $5 Million In Damages

Posted in CAFA, U.S. Supreme Court

The first question my colleagues and I ask when a client has been sued in a class action in state court is whether the case can be removed to federal court. Often, the only ticket out of state court is the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”), which authorizes removal of certain mass and class actions in which the “matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5,000,000, exclusive of interest and costs.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2). Accordingly, plaintiffs who want to stay in state court are constantly looking for ways to prevent removal under CAFA. The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles, No. 11-1450, to decide the fate of one such tactic—attaching to the complaint a stipulation attesting that the plaintiffs seek less than $5 million in damages.

We’ll be talking more about Knowles on this blog in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’re posting the lower court’s decision, the petition for certiorari, the cert-stage amicus briefs filed by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and the Center for Class Action Fairness, the brief in opposition, and the reply brief.