The Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) authorizes removal of “mass actions,” defined as “any civil action . . . in which monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact.” Circuit courts have split on the issue of whether a state attorney general can be forced into federal court if he brings an action on behalf of the citizens of his state. The Fifth Circuit held that such actions were “mass actions” because the real parties in interest were the individual Mississippi citizens, while the Seventh and Ninth Circuits held that such actions were not “mass actions.”
In Mississippi v. AU Optronics Corp., No 12-1036 (Jan. 14, 2014), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the “100 or more persons” language in CAFA means “100 or more plaintiffs,” not merely “100 or more real parties in interest.” Accordingly, where an attorney general is the only named plaintiff, CAFA does not authorize removal to federal court.