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Class Action Defense Cases–Miedema v. Maytag: Defense Bears Burden Under Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) To Establish Subject Matter Jurisdiction

CAFA (Class Action Fairness Act of 2005) Requires Defendant Prove Subject Matter Jurisdiction Supporting Removal Eleventh Circuit Holds

Removal under CAFA (Class Action Fairness Act of 2005) continues to raise basic questions. On June 5, 2006, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed several of these questions in Miedema v. Maytag Corporation, ___ F.3d ___, 2006 WL 1519630 (11th Cir. 2006). The main issue presented was whether CAFA shifted the burden of proof to the plaintiff to establish that remand was proper. Before addressing that question, however, the Circuit Court joined the growing list of sister circuits to hold that 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(1) requires that appellate review be sought not more than 7 days after the district court order granting or denying remand, despite the statutory language of “not less than 7 days,” Slip Opn., at 5-7 (italics added, citations omitted). In the Court’s words,

to read it literally would produce an absurd result: there would be a front-end waiting period (an application filed 6 days after entry of a remand order would be premature), but there would be no back-end limit (an application filed 600 days after entry of a remand order would not be untimely).

Slip Opn., at 6-7. The Court also reaffirmed that CAFA requires that the appeal be resolved within 60 days of the granting of an application to appeal, rather than 60 days from the filing of the petition for review. Id., at 7-8.

Turning to the merits, Miedema joined the Seventh and Ninth Circuits in holding that a class action defendant bears the burden of proving removal jurisdiction: CAFA did not shift that burden to class action plaintiffs. Slip Opn., at 8-14. Miedema held that “the district court did not err by placing the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction on Maytag, or by invoking the rule that doubts are to be resolved in favor of remand.” Id., at 14. The Court then analyzed the evidence Maytag provided to the district court and concluded that it was insufficient to establish removal jurisdiction. Class defendants will find the Court’s analysis instructive, and it will assist class defendants in establishing subject matter jurisdiction in any federal court. For this reason, the opinion is well worth reading.

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