State attorneys general have increasingly filed lawsuits in state courts under state consumer protection and antitrust statutes seeking recovery for alleged injuries to large groups of people. They are frequently called parens patriae actions (lawsuits that a state brings in a representative capacity to protect its citizens' interests) Although several federal circuits have denied removal of these actions under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the 5th Circuit allows defendants to remove them to federal court.
Two recent Mississippi parens patriae federal trial court rulings address CAFA removal. Mississippi ex rel. Jim Hood v. Entergy Mississippi Inc. and Mississippi ex rel. Jim Hood v AU Optronics Corp. were removed under both CAFA's class action and mass action provisions. Each district court held that the cases were not CAFA class actions because they had not been filed under Rule 23 or a "similar State statute or rule." Both trial courts did find, however, that the cases were CAFA mass actions per Louisiana ex rel. Caldwell v Allstate Insurance Company. But the courts reached different results. One court remanded the case under CAFA's general public exception, 28 U.S.C.§ 1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(III); the other denied the attorney general’s motion to remand.