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Class Action Fairness Act – Special CAFA Rules for Appealability of Remand Orders Lawyers Should Know

When defending against a class action, it is important to understand that special rules apply under Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) concerning the appealability of remand orders. Whether a federal district court order remanding an action to state court may be reviewed on appeal is important to any defendant, but special rules apply if the action has been removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. Because the focus of this article is on appellate review of district orders granting motions to remand a lawsuit to state court a case removed under CAFA, removal and remand are not discussed here; discussions of each may be found in separate articles, as is a discussion concerning appellate review of remand orders in non-CAFA cases.

Put simply, appellate review is available for remand orders in cases governed by the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. Under CAFA, Congress expressly provided that “notwithstanding section 1447(d), a court of appeals may accept an appeal from an order of a district court granting or denying a motion to remand a class action to the State court from which it was removed if application is made to the court of appeals not less than 7 days after entry of the order.” 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(1). A defendant must be wary, however, of the quick fuse on filing its notice of appeal: by its terms, the 7-day time limit runs from “entry of the order,” rather than from “notice of entry of the order.”

CAFA also provides for expedited appellate review of remand orders: “If the court of appeals accepts an appeal under paragraph (1), the court shall complete all action on such appeal, including rendering judgment, not later than 60 days after the date on which such appeal was filed, unless an extension is granted under paragraph (3).” 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(2) (italics added). The extensions are limited to either (1) “any period of time” agreed upon by all parties, 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(3)(A), or (2) no more than 10 days, 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(3)(B). If the Circuit Court fails to rule within the statutory time period, then the appeal is deemed denied. 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(4).