Saab v. Home Depot-Class Action Defense Cases: Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) Does Not Permit Appellate Review Of Federal Court Order Denying Motion To Remand Action Removed On Grounds Of Diversity Jurisdiction Eighth Circuit Holds

Jan 8, 2007 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Eighth Circuit Holds that CAFA (Class Action Fairness Act) Authorizes Appellate Review of Remand Orders Only Where Removal was Based on CAFA so Circuit Court could not Review Denial of Motion to Remand Class Action Removed on Grounds of Diversity Jurisdiction

Plaintiff filed a putative class action against Home Depot in Missouri state court, and defense attorneys removed the action to federal court on the grounds of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Plaintiff filed a motion to remand the class action to state court, but the motion was denied. Plaintiff then asked the Eighth Circuit to accept an appeal of the district court’s order, arguing that CAFA (Class Action Fairness Act) authorizes appellate review of remand orders in all class action cases. Saab v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 469 F.3d 758, 759 (8th Cir. 2006). Defense attorneys had not sought to remove the class action under CAFA, and “made no assertion of jurisdiction under CAFA,” id., at 759 n.2. Nonetheless, plaintiff argued that CAFA should be read “expansively” so as “to give federal courts of appeal the jurisdiction to review the grant or denial of a motion to remand any class action.” Id. The Eighth Circuit disagreed.

The Circuit Court explained that plaintiff’s argument failed to recognize the differences between class actions removed on diversity grounds, § 1332(a), and class actions removed under CAFA, § 1332(d). Saab, at 759. CAFA plainly limits appellate review of remand orders to those class action cases that had been removed based on “the diversity jurisdiction provision added by CAFA,” id. (citation omitted). The Eighth Circuit refused the invitation to read CAFA “expansively,” holding that, consistent with CAFA’s legislative history, “we must limit § 1453©’s review provisions to those class actions brought under CAFA,” id., at 759-60. It therefore concluded that “the review provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1453© are limited to class actions brought under CAFA, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).” Id., at 760.

NOTE: The Court observed that the Fifth Circuit had reached the same conclusion. Saab, at 760 (citing Patterson v. Morris, 448 F.3d 736, 742 (5th Cir. 2006) and Wallace v. Louisiana Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., 444 F.3d 697, 700 (5th Cir. 2006)).

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