Abrego v. The Dow Chemical Co.

443 F.3d 676 (2006)

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Abrego v. The Dow Chemical Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
443 F.3d 676 (2006)

Facts

Over 1,000 Panamanian banana-plantation workers (workers) (plaintiffs) sued the Dow Chemical Company (Dow) (defendant) for serious injuries they sustained after exposure to a chemical pesticide used by Dow on plantations in Panama even after the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide’s use in the United States. Shortly after the workers filed their lawsuit in state court, Dow filed a notice of removal with the federal district court under the auspices of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which expanded federal subject-matter jurisdiction over class actions and mass actions. The federal district court entered a show-cause order for Dow to demonstrate that the amount in controversy met the $5 million minimum per CAFA. Dow responded by arguing that CAFA shifted the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction or lack thereof to plaintiffs, that the district court must allow discovery regarding the amount in controversy, that the 100 plaintiffs and $5 million in controversy prerequisites need only be met in the action prior to removal, and that remand of individual claims falling beneath the individual threshold amount in controversy should not affect the removal of the action as a whole. The district court remanded the action back to state court due to Dow’s failure to establish federal jurisdiction. Dow appealed the order to remand and reasserted its arguments in favor of removal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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