January 20, 2014
On January 14, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Mississippi ex. rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp. The question presented in this case was whether a suit filed by a State as the sole plaintiff constituted a "mass action" removable to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act. The State, Mississippi, asserted a claim for restitution based on injuries suffered by the State's citizens. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the suit was a “mass action.”
The Supreme Court unanimously reversed that decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. Writing for the Court, Justice Sotomayor held that, because a "mass action" must involve monetary claims brought by 100 or more persons who propose to try those claims jointly as named plaintiffs--and in this case the State of Mississippi was the only named plaintiff--the case must be remanded to state court.
To discuss the case, we have Brian Fitzpatrick, who is a professor of law at the Vanderbilt University Law School.