Seventh Circuit Review


In In re: Nextel Sprint Corporation, the Seventh Circuit addressed the requirement that plaintiffs show that two-thirds of class members are citizens of the state under the CAFA home-state and local controversy exceptions in order to avoid removal to federal court. A plaintiff class, composed of Kansas residents subscribing to the defendant's cell phone service under Kansas cell phone numbers and receiving their bills at Kansas mailing addresses, sought remand to state court. Though the court found common sense intuitions implicated that the class likely satisfied the two-thirds citizenship requirement of the home-state exception, the court refused to remand the action to state court. Instead, the court forewent use of common sense intuitions and required the plaintiffs to submit evidence of domiciliary intent, or to limit the size of class members by tailoring the class definition to include only citizens of the state. In so holding, the court adopted an unduly high standard, which not only makes maintaining class actions in state court more difficult and expensive for plaintiffs, but also fails to achieve a substantially improved level of objectivity and reliability in the citizenship determination. This Note reviews the treatment of tailoring class definitions to avoid federal jurisdiction under CAFA in other circuits, the treatment of evidence of domiciliary intent in other circuits, and the application of statistical figures to evidentiary burdens. This Note will argue that the potential for confusion and bias in such evidence and for misinterpretation of statistical figures undermines the merits of the Seventh Circuit's stringent standards. Rather, plaintiffs should be allowed a rebuttable presumption of citizenship where residence among class members is established.

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TwoThirdsOfAnEvidentiaryRequirement.mp3 (12542 kB)
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