The Supreme Court’s continuing interest in civil procedure already has produced two opinions this term: Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp., 126 S. Ct. 704, 163 L. Ed. 2d 547 (2005) and Lincoln Property Co. v. Roche, 126 S. Ct. 606 (2005). Both opinions involve removal practice. Martin is significant because it resolves a persistent split among the courts of appeals. It is also noteworthy because it is newly appointed Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s first opinion as a Supreme Court justice. This column explores the Martin case; my next Forum Selection column will discuss the Lincoln Property case.
In Martin, the plaintiffs filed a class action in New Mexico state court against Franklin Capital Corp. and Century-National Insurance Co. (Franklin). Franklin removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, arguing that punitive damages and attorney fees could be aggregated in a class action to meet the amount-in-controversy requirement.
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