Thursday, April 17, 2008

Federal Judicial Center Releases its Latest Report on CAFA

Emery Lee and Tom Willging, of the Federal Judicial Center, have released their latest report on CAFA’s Impact on the Federal Courts. Here’s a link to the report. Here is an excerpt of their most important findings (p. 1-2):

  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of diversity class actions filed as original proceedings in the federal courts in the post-CAFA period. The pre-CAFA average of such filings per month was 11.9; the post-CAFA average was 34.5 per month (see Figures 2 and 3 in Appendix B).
  • Diversity class action removals increased in the immediate post-CAFA period over their 2004 levels but have been trending downward since 2005. In the last months of the study period, diversity removals were at levels similar to those in the pre-CAFA period (see Figures 2 and 3 in Appendix B).
  • The increase in diversity class action original proceedings was widespread. Diversity class action original proceedings increased overall in the districts in eleven of the twelve circuits, when we compared filings for calendar years 2002 and 2003 with those for the last two years of the study period, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2007 (see Figure 4 in Appendix B). Diversity class action original proceedings also increased between the two time periods in all but one of the districts with substantial numbers of diversity class actions during the study period (see Figures 5 and 6 in Appendix B).
  • The results we found for diversity class action removals were more varied. When we compared removals in calendar years 2002 and 2003 with those in the last two years of the study period, we found that they decreased in the last two years of the study period in five circuits (see Figure 4). However, when we analyzed the districts separately, we found that most of the districts with substantial numbers of diversity class actions experienced some increase in diversity removals (see Figures 5 and 6 in Appendix B).
  • The increase in diversity class actions is due largely to increases in the numbers of contracts, consumer protection/fraud, and torts-property damage class actions being filed in or removed to federal court in the post-CAFA period. Torts personal injury cases have not increased in the post-CAFA period (see Figure 7 in Appendix B).

Many thanks to Tom and Emery for their continued efforts on this project. It’s been a wonderful resource for mass tort scholars and provides much needed empirical data on class litigation.

ECB

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