Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Eleventh Circuit Discusses Two Disputed CAFA Issues: 7-Day Language and Burden of Establishing Federal Court Jurisdiction

Per Miedema v. Maytag Corp., --- F.3d ---, 2006 WL 1519630 (11th Cir. June 5, 2006):

We review de novo the district court's decision to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Evans v. Walter Indus., Inc., ---F.3d ----, ----, slip op. at 2275 (11th Cir.2006)

The CAFA [Class Action Fairness Act] permits a court of appeals to accept an application to appeal if the application is made to the court of appeals “ not less than 7 days after entry of the [district court's] order” granting or denying a motion to remand a class action to the state court from which it was removed. 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(1) (emphasis added). Several circuits have declined to read the “not less than” language literally, concluding that it was a typographical error, or that such a reading would be illogical…While we have not addressed this issue directly, it is clear that we did not read § 1453(c)(1) literally in Evans, where we stated that § 1453(c)(1) “provides for an ‘application’ to the court of appeals ··· within 7 days of the district court's remand order.” Evans, --- F.3d at ----, slip op. at 2275 (emphasis added). We now reaffirm that construction of § 1453(c)(1), for to read it literally would produce an absurd result.

Maytag contends that the district court…erred by applying the traditional rule that the removing defendant bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction…We disagree. The Seventh and Ninth Circuits have, in detailed opinions, rejected the very kind of argument Maytag now presents. See Brill v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 427 F.3d 446, 448 (7th Cir.2005) (holding that CAFA's “naked legislative history” does not alter the well established rule that a proponent of subject matter jurisdiction bears the burden of persuasion on the amount in controversy); Abrego Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 686 (9th Cir.2006) (per curiam) (“CAFA's silence, coupled with a sentence in a legislative committee report untethered to any statutory language, does not alter the longstanding rule that the party seeking federal jurisdiction on removal bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction.”). In Evans-which was decided after the instant case was fully briefed-this Circuit agreed with the Seventh and Ninth Circuits that “CAFA does not upset the traditional rule that the removing party bears the burden of proof with regard to establishing federal court jurisdiction.”--- F.3d at ----, slip op. at 2278.... [W]e conclude that the district court did not err by placing the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction on Maytag…


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