March 22, 2013

CAFA Removal Right Trumps Plaintiff’s “Stipulation”

Summary: In a rare display of consensus, a unanimous Supreme Court this week upheld the right of defendants to remain in federal court in a putative class action removed under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) in Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, No. 11-1450, 2013 WL 1104735 (Mar. 19, 2013); see Kaye Scholer Class Action Deskbook, CAFA Section (3d ed.), at 62 n.57 (noting grant of certiorari). Resolving a Circuit split and reversing a lower court’s decision to remand the action to state court, the Supreme Court held that a “stipulation” provided by the named class plaintiffs unilaterally purporting to limit the class recovery to less than CAFA’s jurisdictional minimum (in excess of $5 million) does not defeat removal under CAFA because the stipulation was not binding on the absent class members.

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