Allen v. The Boeing Co.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 04-27-2015
  • Case #: 15-35162
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Callahan for the Court; Circuit Judges Hawkins and Rawlinson; Dissent by Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

The term “event or occurrence” as used in the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(I), refers to a single event or occurrence that gives rise to the plaintiffs’ claims.

Jocelyn Allen, and several other plaintiffs, sued The Boeing Company (“Boeing”) and Landau Associates (“Landau”) for groundwater contamination, which caused property damage, and negligence during the investigation and remediation of the problem. Boeing removed the case to the district court, which the district court remanded back to state court. The district court remanded because there was not complete diversity, and the case fell under the local single event exception to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), § 1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(I). The local single event exception provides that “mass action” does not include a civil action where all the claims arise from an event or occurrence in the state where the action was filed and injuries occurred. Boeing appealed the district court’s application of the CAFA exception. The Ninth Circuit determined that “event or occurrence” as used in § 1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(I) referred to a single happening because it reflects the common understanding of the terms in the statute, is consistent with the legislative history and intent of CAFA, is consistent with the norm that CAFA exceptions are to be strictly construed, and is compelled by precedent. The panel found that there was no singular event alleged because Allen was suing two parties for two separate activities. The panel further noted that Allen’s argument that the local controversy exception under CAFA could also apply needed more briefing and consideration in the first instance, and therefore was remanded to the district court. VACATED and REMANDED.

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