Supreme Court to rule on whether CAFA applies to state attorneys general

High court will decide whether states’ rights outweigh federal jurisdiction over class actions

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that will address whether the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) applies to class actions brought by state attorneys general.

This specific case comes from the Mississippi attorney general, who accused several liquid crystal display (LCD) makers of price-fixing. The 5th Circuit in November 2012 agreed with the LCD makers that, under CAFA, the lawsuit should be removed to federal court.

CAFA gives federal courts jurisdiction over lawsuits with many plaintiffs, but thus far appeals courts have been split on whether that applies to class actions filed by state attorneys general.  In fact, when Congress passed the statute in 2005, there was an amendment on the table to explicitly exclude class actions brought by state attorneys general from CAFA’s scope, but the Senate rejected it.

According to Thomson Reuters, the case will pit state sovereignty against the Supreme Court’s recent campaign against class actions. Cases such as Wal-Mart v. Dukes have shown that the high court is attempting to raise the bar for what makes class actions acceptable.

The Supreme Court will hear this case during the October 2013-June 2014 term.


Read more InsideCounsel coverage of class actions:

Class action suit against Greenberg Traurig settles

EEOC files first-ever GINA class action

Former Hearst interns can’t pursue class action, thanks to Dukes

McDonald’s, franchise owner face class action for time-shaving

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