On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a unanimous Court, held that a parens patriae antitrust suit filed in state court by Mississippi’s Attorney General seeking damages on behalf of the citizens of Mississippi was not removable to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA). Mississippi ex rel. Hood, Attorney General v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., No. 12-1036, (U.S. Jan. 14, 2014) .
The Attorney General of Mississippi sued AU Optronics and other manufacturers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels in state court, alleging claims under the Mississippi Antitrust Act, Miss. Code Ann. § 75-21-1 et seq. and the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act, § 75-24-1 et seq. The AG alleged that the defendants operated an international cartel to restrict competition and raise prices for LCD products, and sought, among other things, restitution for purchases of LCD products by Mississippi and its citizens. AUO and the other defendants removed the case to federal court under CAFA’s provision that a “mass action” includes “any civil action … in which monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(11)(B)(i). The Court held that a suit filed by a state as the sole plaintiff does not qualify as a “mass action” under CAFA where it includes a claim for restitution based on injuries suffered by the state’s citizens. Read More