by Victor E. Schwartz, Cary Silverman
Washington Legal Foundation
October 31, 2013
Plaintiffs’ lawyers know that the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) does not extend federal jurisdiction to “mass actions” that seek monetary relief for less than 100 persons in a joint trial. They have adroitly circumvented federal courts and kept cases that, in actual fact, involve more than 100 persons in friendly Judicial Hellhole™ style state courts by filing mass actions in separate groups. The allegations on behalf of these groups of plaintiffs are identical. The plaintiffs’ lawyers then request that a state court consolidate these cases for all procedural purposes, being careful not to specifically request consolidation of the cases “for trial.” Their purpose is to obtain state court action on all aspects of the litigation and obtain mass action “clout” that will push defendants into a substantial settlement regardless of the merits of the cases. Defendants can effectively counter such attempts, which are contrary to the purpose of CAFA.