On Issue of First Impression, Fifth Circuit Applies CAFA in Mass-Tort Cases to Deny Remand

Cruz-Alvarez_FFeatured Expert Contributor—Civil Justice/Class Actions

By Frank Cruz-Alvarez, a Partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. in the firm’s Miami, FL office, with Erica E. McCabe, an Associate in the firm’s Kansas City, MO office.

On January 9, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in the consolidated interlocutory appeals of Warren Lester, et al. and Shirley Bottley, et al., affirmed the district court’s decision denying the plaintiffs’ motions to remand their respective cases back to Louisiana state court.

Interpreting the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) broadly, the Fifth Circuit majority confirmed that (1) a proposal for a joint trial of related state court cases triggers a “mass action” under CAFA, and (2) CAFA provides a basis for removal even when one of the underlying suits was filed before the law’s February 18, 2005, effective date. Lester, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 547 at *3–4 (5th Cir. Jan. 9, 2018). Continue reading “On Issue of First Impression, Fifth Circuit Applies CAFA in Mass-Tort Cases to Deny Remand”