Bridewell-Sledge v. Blue Cross of Cal., 2015 WL 4939641 (9th Cir. 2015)

Two similar class actions filed 13 minutes apart against the same defendants in the same California state court were consolidated by the state court “for all purposes.” Despite the fact that the two actions had been consolidated into a single action, defendants filed two separate notices of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”). The district court treated the two cases as separate and concluded that CAFA’s local controversy exception applied to the first-filed class action but not the second and remanded the first while retaining jurisdiction over the second. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the consolidated action should have been viewed by the district court as a single class action and that CAFA’s local controversy exception applies to the consolidated action, thus requiring remand of the entire action (i.e., both cases). See also Yocupicio v. PAE Group, LLC, 2015 WL 4568722 (9th Cir. 2015) (matter removed under CAFA should have been remanded to state court because the class claims alone did not meet the $5 million CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement).