Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: May 28, 2013
  • Case #: 12-1036
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 701 F.3d 796 (5th Cir. 2012)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a state's parens patriae suit can be removed from state court under the Class Action Fairness Act as a "mass action" when the cause of action arises under state law with the state being the sole plaintiff.

Petitioner filed a parens patriae suit in state court against LCD manufacturers for price fixing in violation of Mississippi Consumer Protection Act (“MCPA”) and Mississippi Antitrust Act (“MAA”). Petitioner claims that Respondent engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of LCD panels. The case was removed to District Court. Petitioner moved for the case to be remanded to state court which the District Court granted. Respondent appealed this decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the action was not a class action as it was not brought under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”)28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(1)(B), or (2) or any corresponding state laws. However, the court determined that the suit was a mass action. The injured parties included the state and individual consumers of LCD products, comprising the 100 claims needed for a mass action. The court held that the state could not be the sole plaintiff recovering from the suit in a parens patriae suit. Also, the Petitioner cannot be the sole plaintiff because this action is really brought under MCPA and MAA, which does not allow the state alone to recover damages. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that since the suit was a mass action under the CAFA, removal to federal court was proper.

Petitioner appealed and the Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether a state's parens patriae suit can be removed from state court under the Class Action Fairness Act as a "mass action" when the cause of action arises under state law with the state being the sole plaintiff. Petitioner argues that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in its application of federal jurisdiction based on the circuit split between the Fifth Circuit and the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits which found no federal jurisdiction in this type of action.

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