Last month, the Eighth Circuit held that the district court's refusal to consider evidence submitted after the notice of removal was filed was an abuse of discretion. The case, Pudlowski v. The St. Louis Rams, LLC, No. 16-8009, arose from the highly publicized relocation of the St. Louis Rams football team to Los Angeles. The plaintiffs, alleging they were misled into purchasing tickets, merchandise, and concessions under the false promise that the Rams would stay in Missouri, purported to represent a class of all Missouri residents who made purchases from April 2010 through January 2016. They sued the Rams in Missouri state court, and the Rams removed the case to federal court on the basis of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).
After filing the notice of removal, the Rams submitted two affidavits from putative class members declaring that while they were Missouri residents at the time they made their purchases, they had since moved out of state. The Rams argued that these affidavits showed that CAFA's minimal diversity requirement was met because "at least one plaintiff and one defendant are citizens of different states." The district court refused to consider the affidavits, interpreting "the rule that a federal court's jurisdiction is measured 'at the time of removal' to preclude it from considering evidence submitted to the court postremoval."
The Eighth Circuit reversed, holding that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to consider the affidavits: "While it is true that jurisdiction is measured at the time of removal, that only means that facts arising subsequent to removal have no bearing on a court's jurisdictional determination." The Rams' notice of removal was not required to include evidence, the court further held, and post-removal discovery is often necessary if jurisdictional or venue issues arise.