My second choice for the title of this post was “Hey Carnival Corp. Defense Team– What in the World Were You Thinking?”
This case is a classic example of what not to do as a defense attorney—remove a claim to federal court based on a sophisticated area of law you know nothing about.
As the Carnival removal action illustrates, don’t take your chances on this ill-conceived defense strategy.
It will backfire. Badly.
Let me back up a moment and briefly explain.
Yesterday, a federal appeals court remanded lawsuits filed by passengers injured in the Costa Concordia cruise shipwreck to Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th circuit ruled that two multi-plaintiff cases didn’t qualify for removal under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).
The Court outright rejected Carnival Corporation’s argument that the lawsuits filed by separate groups of plaintiffs could be joined together to meet CAFA’s 100-plaintiff threshold.
Never mind that every other court of appeals confronted with this question has come to the same conclusion: that plaintiffs have the ability to avoid CAFA jurisdiction by filing separate complaints naming less than 100 plaintiffs and by not moving for or otherwise proposing joint trial in the state court.
Seems straightforward enough to me.
Unfortunately, it looks like the defense team got in over their heads on this one.
Be sure to check out my friend Jim Walker’s excellent post, Costa Concordia Lawsuits Remain in Florida, But What’s Next? over at Cruise Law News
You can follow the link to the 11th Circuit Court opinion in Geoffrey Scimone, et al. v. Carnival Coportaion. Or simply see the embedded opinion below: