Eleventh Circuit reverses course and restores intent of CAFA

Posted on: October 27th, 2010 by Steve Larson

On October 15, 2010, the Eleventh Circuit withdrew its intensely controversial opinion on CAFA jurisdiction that I previously mentioned on this blog.  In its original opinion in Cappuccitti v. DirecTV, Inc., the Court held that the named class representative must meet the $75,000 requirement of diversity jurisdiction – even if the case was filed under the Class Action Fairness Act. This result generated immense criticism and petitions for en banc review from both the plaintiff and defendant. The new opinion clearly states that there is no requirement in CAFA that any single plaintiff’s claim exceed $75,000.

The court stated that it’s original “interpretation was incorrect” and that “CAFA’s text does not require at least one plaintiff in a class action to meet the amount in controversy requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).” Instead, the court identified three jurisdictional requirements: (1) the amount of controversy merely must exceed $5,000,000 in the aggregate, (2) the class must contain at least 100 members, and (3) there must be minimal diversity. The court found all three of these requirements met, noting that the case had been filed originally in federal court and that the allegation of a demand in the complaint must be accepted if made in good faith and not disproven by a legal certainty.