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Monday, August 31, 2015

Yocupicio v. PAE Group: Ninth Circuit Addresses CAFA Jurisdiction in Case Raising Both Class and PAGA Claims

In Yocupicio v. PAE Group, LLC, ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. 7/30/15), the plaintiff filed a class and PAGA representative action alleging a number of wage and hour violations. The defendants removed the case under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), and the district court denied the plaintiff's motion to remand. The plaintiff appealed, and the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding as follows:

CAFA jurisdiction requires the following: a class of more than 100 members, "minimal diversity" among the parties, and an amount in controversy in excess of $5 million. The court found no question that the class claims would "satisfy CAFA’s numerosity and minimal diversity requirements," but the case did not satisfy the amount in controversy requirement. The value of the class claims alone did not satisfy the $5 million requirement, and the district court erred in adding in the value of the PAGA claims to make up the difference. Only class claims count toward the $5 million requirement, and PAGA claims are not class claims. The Court concluded: 
Where a plaintiff files an action containing class claims as well as non-class claims, and the class claims do not meet the CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement while the nonclass claims, standing alone, do not meet diversity of citizenship jurisdiction requirements, the amount involved in the non-class claims cannot be used to satisfy the CAFA jurisdictional amount, and the CAFA diversity provisions cannot be invoked to give the district court jurisdiction over the non-class claims. 
The opinion is available here

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