The Supreme Court of the United States announced decisions in two cases this morning:

Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, No. 11-1450: Under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), federal district courts are granted original jurisdiction over civil class actions if, among other things, the amount in controversy when the claims of the individual class members is aggregated exceeds $5 million. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). Here, the District Court remanded a putative class action removed under CAFA after the respondent stipulated that he and the class would seek less than $5 million in damages. The Eighth Circuit declined to hear petitioner’s appeal. Today, the Supreme Court vacated the District Court’s order, holding that the stipulation should have been ignored because the stipulation could only resolve the amount in controversy for the named plaintiff, but had no ability to bind the rest of the putative class.

The Court's decision is available here.

Kirstaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., No. 11-697: A copyright owner’s exclusive right “to distribute copies . . . of [a] copyrighted work” is qualified by, among others, the “first sale” doctrine, which entitles the owner of a copy “lawfully made under this title,” to sell that copy “without the authority of the copyrighted owner.” 17 U.S.C. § 109(a). Section 602(a)(1), however, makes it an infringement to import a copy made abroad without the copyright owner’s permission. Here, petitioner asked friends and family to buy and mail him foreign edition English-language textbooks in Thailand book shops, where they were sold at low prices, and he then sold the books at a profit in the United States. Respondent brought a suit for copyright infringement, and petitioner responded by raising the “first sale” defense. The District Court held that “first sale” doctrine did not apply to goods manufactured abroad, and the Second Circuit affirmed. The Court today reversed, holding that the “first sale” doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

The Court's decision is available here.