The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently held that, even if a class action case does not satisfy the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) at the time it is removed to federal court by a defendant, a plaintiff can independently confer jurisdiction on the federal court if after removal the complaint is amended to include facts that clearly give rise to federal jurisdiction. A copy of the opinion is attached.
Plaintiffs in this case each filed individual complaints in a
In affirming the district court’s decision, the appellate court first reviewed a line of precedent in both the Eleventh Circuit and other circuits which holds that, while a case should be “fit for adjudication at the time the removal petition is filed,” “this timing requirement is not fatal to federal-court adjudication where jurisdictional defects are subsequently cured.” Accordingly, if a plaintiff voluntarily amends his or her complaint to allege a basis for federal jurisdiction, a federal court may exercise jurisdiction even if the case was improperly removed.
The Court found that, based on this precedent and, in the interest of judicial economy, the district court did not err in retaining jurisdiction, given that plaintiffs’ final amended complaints alleged facts that clearly gave rise to federal jurisdiction under CAFA.
Ralph T. Wutscher
Kahrl Wutscher LLP
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