One of the exceptions to federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) is known as the “local controversy exception.”
In a decision sure to generate comment during the new year, the Fourth Circuit ruled in United States ex rel. Bunk v. Gosselin World Wide Moving, No. 12-1369, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25225 (Dec. 19, 2013), that penalties of some amount must be awarded for violations of the civil False Claims Act even though the trial court had determined the government suffered no economic damage.
In the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in Scott v. Family Dollar Stores, the concurrence and dissent sharply disagreed about the significance of the majority opinion. Depending on which opinion you read, Family Dollar is either a sweeping reinterpretation of the Supreme Court’s class action decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes or a narrow holding reiterating the rule in favor of liberal amendment of complaints. Time will tell who is right.
In its recent decision in Scott v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., No. 12-1610 (4th Cir. Oct. 16, 2013), the Fourth Circuit ruled that the district court abused its discretion by refusing to allow plaintiffs asserting claims of gender-based pay discrimination leave to file an amended complaint based upon an erroneous interpretation of the Rule 23(a) commonality requirements for class certification set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011).
A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit took the unusual step of reversing an arbitrator’s award in favor of an ex-employee, finding that the arbitrator’s award was in “manifest disregard” of the law.