March 27, 2013
On March 19, 2013, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles. The question in this case was whether a named plaintiff in a state class action can, before the class is certified, preclude removal of the case to federal court by purporting to limit the damages sought for putative class members to less than $5 million--the threshold that triggers a right of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, or “CAFA.”
In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held unanimously that the plaintiff’s pre-certification stipulation could not bind the putative class, and therefore did not limit the amount in controversy for purposes of removal to federal court under CAFA. The Court vacated the contrary decision of the lower appellate court and remanded the case for further proceedings.
To discuss the case, we have Brian Fitzpatrick, who is a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School.