Dueling Grants: Reimagining CAFA's Jurisdictional Provisions

49 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2018 Last revised: 20 Aug 2018

See all articles by Tanya Pierce

Tanya Pierce

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: May 1, 2017


More than a decade after Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), courts continue to disagree as to its meaning in a variety of situations, many of which have wide-ranging effects. This article considers what happens when a federal court's subject matter jurisdiction derives solely from CAFA's minimal diversity jurisdiction provision and a request for class certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 is denied. The statute's ambiguity on this point has resulted in numerous inefficiencies and opportunities to manipulate jurisdiction. This article suggests CAFA's language and statutory scheme require courts to consider jurisdiction at two points: before a certification decision is reached and after such a decision. Approaching CAFA's jurisdictional provisions in this way would allow courts to avoid ignoring some of the statute's more problematic, but nevertheless, existing jurisdictional provisions. In addition, it would further the primary articulated purposes underlying CAFA. It would ensure, on the one hand, that class actions of national importance are heard in federal courts and prevent, on the other hand, meritless claims that do not further substantive legal policies and could never qualify for class treatment from taking up judicial resources merely because plaintiffs allege a putative class. It would also promote predictable and logically consistent answers to the question of continuing jurisdiction, even though in some cases characteristics of a given class weigh in favor of delaying class certification decisions, whereas in others they do not.

Keywords: Class Action, Class Action Fairness Act, CAFA, minimal diversity, subject matter jurisdiction, diversity jurisdiction, continuing jurisdiction, jurisdiction

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Pierce, Tanya, Dueling Grants: Reimagining CAFA's Jurisdictional Provisions (May 1, 2017). Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 3, 2017, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-23, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3194826

Tanya Pierce (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States

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