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Eighth Circuit Holds Amount-In-Controversy Stipulation In Complaint Avoids CAFA Jurisdiction

April 11, 2012 11:24 AM | Posted by Kathryn H. Christian | Print this page
In the motion to remand, the class representative argued that the amount in controversy was not in excess of $5 million, as required by section 1332(d). The complaint alleged “judgment against defendant in an amount that is fair and reasonable in excess of $25,000, but not to exceed $4,999,999” and that “Plaintiff and the class do not seek—and will not accept—any recovery of damages (in the form of statutory interest) and any other relief, in total, in excess of $4,999,999.” Nestle responded that the theory of the case clearly comprehended the possibility of damages in excess of $5 million, since the interest due on the payment allegedly due would exceed $2 million each day. The Eighth Circuit noted that it had “previously stated that a binding stipulation limiting damages sought to an amount not exceeding $5 million can be used to defeat CAFA jurisdiction.” The court concluded that because the stipulations in the complaint were binding under Missouri law, it is “legally impossible for the amount in controversy in this case to meet CAFA's threshold, and remand based on CAFA's amount-in-controversy requirement was appropriate.”

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