Class actions have become a lucrative business for the plaintiffs’ bar. National corporate defendants sometimes settle even frivolous claims for substantial amounts, especially in plaintiff-friendly state courts. To curb state-court class-action abuses, the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) expressly authorizes “any defendant” to remove (i.e., transfer) a qualifying class action from state court to federal court, where the rules and legal precedents create a more level playing field.
But the plaintiffs’ bar has found a way to dodge CAFA removal, at least for now: Instead a filing a state-court class-action complaint directly against a national or multi-state corporate defendant, a class-action attorney recruits a defendant in a garden-variety debt-collection suit pending in a plaintiff-friendly state court to file a class-action “counterclaim” against the plaintiff in the original suit and against additional, national corporate defendants. That is what happened in Home Depot v. Jackson, No. 17-1471, which the Supreme Court is deciding whether to review. The question presented is whether CAFA authorizes such an additional counterclaim defendant to remove a putative class action to federal court. DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, has filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Court to hear the case.
To read DRI’s brief, authored by Capital Appellate Advocacy founder and DRI Amicus Committee chair Lawrence S. Ebner, click here.