As we previously reported in our August 9, 2010 Client Alert, "Eleventh Circuit Decision Threatens to Send More Class Actions Back to State Court," on July 19, 2010 a panel of the Eleventh Circuit held in Cappuccitti v. DirecTV, Inc., that federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) over a class action asserting state law claims required that, in addition to having minimal diversity (one plaintiff diverse from any defendant), at least 100 class members, and aggregated claims of class members in excess of $5 million, at least one plaintiff must have an individual claim that meets the amount in controversy requirement of at least $75,000. We noted that the holding seemed at odds with CAFA's purpose, which is to provide for federal jurisdiction of putative state law class actions seeking in excess of $5 million, even if (as in many consumer class actions) individual class members' damages were not substantial.
Upon further consideration, the same panel of the Eleventh Circuit reconsidered and vacated the decision and replaced it with a new decision on October 15, 2010. In the new decision, the court held that the district court had jurisdiction over the class action because "[t]here is no requirement in a class action brought originally or on removal under CAFA that any individual plaintiff's claim exceed $75,000."
With this decision, the Eleventh Circuit comes into line with the other courts that have addressed the issue. The rule should now be clear - CAFA jurisdiction requires only minimal diversity, at least 100 putative class members, and claims in the aggregate of more than $5 million.