Thursday, May 25, 2006

N.D. Alabama Holds that CAFA Does Not Shift Burden of Proof to Plaintiff to Disprove Federal Jurisdiction When Facing Removal

Per Eufaula Drugs, Inc. v. TDI Managed Care Serv., Inc, 2006 WL 986976 (M.D. Ala. Apr. 14, 2006):

In the typical case invoking federal diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), the party asserting federal jurisdiction bears the burden of demonstrating that jurisdiction exists. See McNutt v. Gen. Motors Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189, 56 S.Ct. 780, 785, 80 L.Ed. 1135 (1936). When the plaintiff files suit in state court, “[t]he defendant can remove to federal court if he can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, facts supporting jurisdiction.” Burns, 31 F.3d at 1094 (emphasis added). That is, the defendant must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy has been met.

The Court recognizes, however, that a number of courts have concluded that CAFA shifts the burden to the plaintiff to prove that the amount in controversy has not been met, and that therefore federal jurisdiction does not exist. See, e.g., Waitt v. Merck & Co., No. C05-0759L, 2005 WL 1799740 (W.D.Wash. July 27, 2005); Yeroushalami v. Blockbuster, Inc., No. CV 05-225-AHM(RCX), 2005 WL 2083008 (C.D.Cal. July 11, 2005). Though the text of CAFA makes no mention of the burden of proof, these courts base their conclusion that CAFA shifts the burden on a report of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. . . .

. . .

. . . “[A] cardinal principle of the judicial function of statutory interpretation is that courts have no authority to enforce principles gleaned solely from legislative history that has no statutory reference point.” Id. United States v. Thigpen, 4 F.3d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir.1993). Therefore, this Court will not consider the Senate report on CAFA, and will apply the traditional burden, requiring Defendants to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy has been met.


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This decision from last month is now of secondary importance given the 11th Circuit's decision last week in Evans v. Walter Industries, Inc., No. 06-11974 (May 22, 2006).

Randy B.


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