The Ninth Circuit recently limited the availability of diversity jurisdiction for certain cases with claims involving mortgage loan modifications. Specifically, in Corral v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., the Ninth Circuit held that, where the plaintiff-borrower “seeks only a temporary stay of foreclosure pending review of a loan modification application … the value of the property or amount of indebtedness are not the amounts in controversy.” — F.3d —-, 2017 WL 6601872, at *1 (9th Cir. Dec. 27, 2017). Rather, to satisfy the amount in controversy requirement in such cases, parties must demonstrate that the value of the temporary delay in foreclosure exceeds $75,000, “such as the transactional costs to the lender of delaying foreclosure or a fair rental value of the property during pendency of the injunction” (in addition to any compensatory damages plaintiffs may be seeking). Id. at *5.
By Ryan M. Tosi
Addressing an issue of first impression, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Graiser v. Visionworks of America, Inc., recently upheld a defendant’s second attempt at removing a class action to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), long after the thirty-day removal deadline applicable to traditional diversity jurisdiction expired. The Grasier decision confirms that the defendant does not have a duty to perform any significant investigation of facts relevant to federal jurisdiction independent of the information received from the plaintiff, and that the thirty-day removal period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b) applies only after the plaintiff’s pleadings or documents provide the defendant with a clear statement of the damages sought or with sufficient facts from which damages can be readily calculated. As such, a defendant may remove a case under CAFA even if the initial thirty-day removal window has closed where that defendant later receives a document from the plaintiff from which it could be first ascertained that the case was removable under CAFA, thereby providing the defendant with “a new window for removability.”
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