Master Class--Class Actions I


Linda S Mullenix

National Law Journal


Commentary and analysis of the Supreme Court appeal in Ford Motor Co. v. McCauley, which presents the question of how to calculate the $75,000 jurisdictional amount-in-controversy for diversity-based class actions. The central issue concerns whether federal courts should follow a plaintiff’s viewpoint rule or an either viewpoint rule in a class action seeking both compensatory and injunctive relief. The Court also must determine whether courts may calculate the requisite amount in controversy with reference to the defendant’s costs in implementing the requested injunction. This article surveys the varying approaches by the federal courts in determining the amount-in-controversy threshold jurisdiction requirement, when plaintiffs seek injunctive relief under Rule 23(b)(2), and the strategic use of forum-shopping in class litigation.. The plaintiff in this case, McCauley, has urged the Court to defer ruling in the appeal in light of pending legislation in Congress to enact a Class Action Fairness Act, which would statutorily modify the rules relating to the amount-in-controversy requirement in diversity class actions. The plaintiff argues that this controversy is better resolved by congressional statutory amendment rather than judicial decision.

Full Citation

Linda S. Mullenix, Master Class--Class Actions I, National Law Journal, Nov. 4, 2002, at B9.