The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has decided to review a lower court decision involving the evidence required of defendants filing a notice to remove a lawsuit brought in state court to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA). Dart Cherokee Basin v. Owens, No. 13-719 (U.S., cert. granted April 7, 2014). The issue arises in the context of a putative class action seeking royalty payments under certain Kansas oil and gas leases.
According to the defendant petitioners, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals let stand an order remanding the case to state court on the district court’s refusal to consider evidence establishing federal jurisdiction under CAFA—the $5-million amountin-controversy requirement—because that evidence was not attached to the removal notice. The petitioners contend that 29 U.S.C. §1446(a) requires only that a defendant seeking removal file a notice containing “a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal” and attach the state court filings served on the defendant. They argue that seven sister circuit courts of appeals “do not require the defendant to attach evidence supporting federal jurisdiction to the notice of removal. District courts in those Circuits may consider evidence supporting removal even it if comes later in response to a motion to remand.”