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Ninth Circuit Finds Local Controversy Exception Met In Dispute Over Groundwater Contamination

On May 5, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court’s order remanding plaintiff’s case against Boeing and its environmental consultant back to state court since plaintiffs met the requirements for the local controversy exception of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The court disagreed with Boeing’s argument that the plaintiff’s failed to meet the elements required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4)(A)(i) in seeking “significant relief” from the in-state environmental consultant defendant who failed to show a “significant basis” for the claim. [Allen v. Boeing Co., ___F.3d___, Case No. 16-35175 (9th Cir. May. 5, 2016).]

The plaintiffs alleged that Boeing had knowledge of the volatile organic chemical plume migrating off Boeing’s property and into shallow groundwater.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s remand to state court since it found that CAFA’s local controversy exception. The Ninth Circuit considered precedent and held that the court could look only to the complaint in determining if the criteria was met. Such restrictions serve to limit the amount of information available when determining if a local controversy exception is satisfied. (Danielle Sakai, Daniella Hernandez) [June 23, 2016]

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