Class Action Fairness Act—Class Actions Asserted As Counterclaims

Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. v. Jackson, No. 17-1471

The Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) authorizes “any defendant” in a state-court class action to remove the case to a federal district court, so long as the dispute concerns more than $5 million and minimal diversity requirements are satisfied. This case arose when the respondent was named as a defendant in a debt-collection matter. In answering the original complaint, the respondent asserted a class-action counterclaim against petitioner Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., which had not previously been a party to the case. Home Depot sought to remove the case to federal court under CAFA, but the district court and court of appeals both found that jurisdiction was lacking. The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a party joined to the case as part of a counterclaim constitutes a “defendant” for purposes of CAFA’s removal jurisdiction provisions.