Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : October 6, 2011

On October 3, 2011, the Ninth Circuit held that parens patriae actions commenced by state attorneys general are not “class actions” under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) and, therefore, could not be removed from federal to state court under the CAFA removal provisions.  Washington v. Chimei Innolux Corp., No. 11–16862, 2011 WL 4543086 (9th Cir. Oct. 3, 2011).  The California and Washington attorneys general commenced actions under state law in their respective state courts to recover damages for their citizens as a result of price fixing among LCD manufacturers.  These actions are based on the same allegations in MDL No. 1827.  Defendants removed them asserting jurisdiction under CAFA.  CAFA creates subject matter jurisdiction and authorizes removal in a class action where there is minimal diversity of citizenship between a defendant and one named or unnamed putative class member and the amount sought by the class exceeds $5,000,000.  Defendants argued that a parens patriae action is just like a class action and the CAFA removal provision should thus apply.  Joining the Fourth Circuit, West Virginia ex rel. McGraw v. CVS Pharm., Inc., 646 F.3d 169 (4th Cir.2011), the Ninth Circuit held that the language of CAFA does not permit treating parens patriae actions as class actions.  It then affirmed the district court’s remand orders.