The Class Action Fairness Act was intended to protect consumers against the unfair class action settlements rubber-stamped in state courts by creating federal jurisdiction in nationwide class actions with more than the $5 million jurisdictional minimum at stake. Some plaintiffs’ lawyers have attempted to avoid federal court by purporting to limit the rights of their absent clients to less than $5 million, notwithstanding any claims they might be able to make, with the idea of negotiating an attorney-friendly settlement in state court. Most courts reject this tactic, most notably Judge Easterbrook in the 2011 Back Doctors decision, noting that any such disclaimer violates Rule 23(a)(4)’s adequacy requirement. The Eighth Circuit, however, has honored such forum-shopping attempts, resulting in numerous remands to the judicial hellhole of Texarkana, Arkansas.
[On August 31], the Supreme Court granted certiorari to an Eighth Circuit denial of an appeal of such a remand, The Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles. The Center for Class Action Fairness filed an amicus brief in support of certiorari, making us one for three in cases where we’ve filed amicus briefs in support of certiorari.
In other Supreme Court / Andrew Trask news, the Supreme Court denied certiorari to our former client, Kimberly Craven, who unsuccessfully appealed our unfortunate loss in the D.C. Circuit in the Cobell litigation. We can expect a denial of the weaker Good Bear petition next week.