Burr & Forman

04.15.2013   |   Articles / Publications

Burr Alert: A Look at the Supreme Court’s Recent Decision in Standard Fire v. Knowles and the Trend of Recent Victories for Class Action Defendants

On March 19, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, ____ S. Ct. ____, 2013 WL 1104735. Writing for the unanimous Court, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that a representative of a yet-to-be-certified class, or that putative class’s counsel, cannot avoid removal of a putative class action to Federal Court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) via a precertification stipulation that the damages sought by the class would be less than the CAFA jurisdictional threshold of $5 million.

The Knowles decision is another win in an identifiable trend of recent victories for class action defendants at the Supreme Court. This alert provides a summary of the recent Knowles decision and how it impacts the viability of a long-used “loophole” allowing removal under CAFA, a brief discussion of the trend of recent Supreme Court decisions in favor of class action defendants, and references for further reading.

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