In the context of a dispute over health insurance offered to Illinois residents, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has indicated how plaintiffs seeking to remand a matter removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) can show that the putative class meets the § 1332(d)(4) requirement that “at least twothirds of the class’s members are citizens of the state in which the suit began and at least one defendant from which ‘significant relief’ is sought is a citizen of the same state.” Myrick v. Wellpoint, Inc., Nos. 12-3882, 13-2230 (7th Cir., decided August 19, 2014).
Here, the plaintiffs offered no evidence about the class members’ citizenship, stating that it would be cost-prohibitive to do so and asking the court to infer from the insurance policies’ restrictive language that most policyholders, even if some had relocated, were Illinois citizens. According to the court, a random sample of policyholders could have been used to satisfy the § 1332(d)(4) requirement: “If the sample yields a lopsided result (say, 90% Illinois citizens or only 50% Illinois citizens) then the outcome is clear without the need for more evidence. (The more lopsided the result, the smaller the sample needed to achieve statistical significance). If the result is close to the statutory two-thirds line, then do more sampling and hire a statistician to ensure that the larger sample produces a reliable result.”
The court questioned the representative plaintiffs’ and counsel’s adequacy given their “insouciance toward the need for proof of the class members’ citizenship” and other questionable litigation strategies. The court affirmed the district court’s refusal to remand the matter to state court, its refusal to certify a class and its ruling in favor of the defendants on the merits.