In Retrospect: A First Year Review of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005
University of Houston Law Center
U of Houston Law Center No. 2006-W-08
After more than a decade of prior efforts, the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) was finally passed in February 2005. Now that we have passed the statute's first anniversary, I take the opportunity to look at the major interpretive questions that the new law has presented to the courts.
Court decisions applying CAFA in its first year have addressed several issues, most of which have been procedural in nature. One of the primary issues has been dealing with arguments advanced by defendants that CAFA applies to cases that were filed in state court before the date that CAFA was signed into law. In addition to the issues surrounding the statute's applicability, this study of CAFA case law raises other significant issues of broader impact, such as: (1) reconciling textual language with arguably contradictory legislative history; and (2) assessing whether Congress intends to alter a general presumption in the law with specific statutory directives when the statute is silent as to the general presumption. This paper is organized into four sections, with each devoted to a particular subject or issue that courts have addressed in CAFA's first full year: (A) statutory applicability questions; (B) the imposition of sanctions in CAFA removal practice; (C) burden of proof issues; and (D) finally, a discussion of several substantive issues that have arisen under the new legislation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Class action, CAFA, Class Action Fairness Act, Pritchett v. Office Depot, relation-back doctrine, forum shopping, appellate piggybacking, burden of proof standard, Knudsen v Liberty Mutual Insurance, Pfizer v Lott, Natale v Pfizer, Schorsch v Hewlett-Packard, Schillinger v. Union Pacific Railroad
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K40, K41working papers series
Date posted: May 14, 2006
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