Lowdermilk v. United States Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 2007 WL 678221 (9th Cir. Mar. 2, 2007)

Plaintiffs in this class action sought unpaid wages and penalties under Oregon state law as well as costs and attorneys’ fees for a total amount of alleged damages that did not exceed $5 million. The Bank removed the action to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), alleging that the actual amount in controversy exceeded $5 million. The Ninth Circuit held that the proponent of federal jurisdiction under CAFA (the Bank) bears the burden of proving with “legal certainty” that the amount in controversy exceeds the statute’s $5 million jurisdictional minimum – a burden the Bank failed to meet in this case. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the district court and ordered the case remanded to state court. Cf. Serano v. 180 Connect, Inc., 2007 WL 601984 (9th Cir. Feb. 22, 2007) (the party seeking remand of action removed to federal court under CAFA bears burden of proving “home-state controversy” exception to federal jurisdiction).