CAFA — how to claim $75,000

mass chartIn yet another opinion showing that the seemingly simple language of CAFA is anything but, in Robertson v. Exxon Mobil the Fifth Circuit reversed the remand of a mass action, concluding that the district court erred in finding that no plaintiff satisfied the $75,000 amount-in-controversy requirement.  No. 15-30920 (Dec. 31, 2015).  In a footnote, the Court declined to engage the broader issue of whether at least 100 plaintiffs had to satisfy that requirement, and the Court declined to rule on potentially applicable exceptions to jurisdiction (such as “local controversy”) until the district court addressed them on remand.  On the proof point, the Court noted: “(1) [Plaintiff] Eddie Ashley claims that she has suffered, among other harms, emphysema and the wrongful death of her husband from lung cancer; and (2) [Plaintiff] Tommie Jones avers that he developed prostate cancer and a host of other ailments. We hold that it is more likely than not that these plaintiffs seek to recover more than $75,000. Indeed, Plaintiffs’ counsel acknowledged at oral argument that for the plaintiffs who contracted cancer, he would be ‘asking [the] jury, come trial, for a whole lot more than $75,000.'”

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