Epstein on Class Actions Before the Supreme Court

Class Action, SCOTUS, and Statutory Evasion
Richard A. Epstein
January 8, 2013

There are few problems of greater complexity than developing a set of legal rules that allows for the effective integration of state regulation with individual choice. That problem came to bear on Monday, January 7, 2013 in the oral argument before the United States Supreme Court on the question of how to read the $5 million threshold that is contained in the 2005 Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which allows a defendant to remove a case from state court into federal court if the class has more than 100 members and the total amount at stake in the controversy exceeds $5 million.

The point of this limitation was to make sure that defendants were not trapped in certain state court hellholes, which could claim jurisdiction over a national dispute because some small fraction of class members had contact with the state in question.  The competition among certain state districts to bring these actions provoked