What You Need to Know About Federal Jurisdiction in MMWA Warranty Class Actions

The Sixth Circuit recently adopted the prevailing federal policy of finding that federal courts have jurisdiction over warranty class actions under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act even when the plaintiffs do not meet the 100-named-plaintiffs rule under the MMWA. The Sixth Circuit adopted the reasoning of the northern District of Ohio in finding that the Class Action Fairness Act, or CAFA, supersedes the MMWA jurisdictional requirements. The decision is Kuns v. Ford Motor Co., 6th Cir. No. 13-3364, 2013 WL 6068459 (Nov. 19, 2013).

The Six Circuit explained:

The district court held that it had jurisdiction over Kuns's claims under the CAFA and not under the MMWA. To bring a class action pursuant to the MMWA, a complaint must list at least one hundred named plaintiffs. See15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(3). Kuns is the only named plaintiff in her case. However, the court reasoned that the CAFA—the more recent of the two statutes—“can render a district court a ‘court of competent jurisdiction’ and permit it to retain jurisdiction where the CAFA requisites are met but the MMWA requisites are not.” Kuns, 926 F.Supp.2d at 980.

As the district court acknowledged, our circuit has not yet addressed the jurisdictional interplay of the CAFA and the MMWA. Nor, apparently, have most of our sister circuits. But see Birdsong v. Apple, Inc., 590 F.3d 955, 957 n. 1 (9th Cir.2009) (finding that district court had jurisdiction pursuant to the CAFA over purported class action alleging violations of the MMWA and state law). However, district courts have, as a general rule, held that the CAFA effectively supersedes the MMWA's more stringent jurisdictional requirements. See, e.g., Keegan v. Am. Honda Motor Corp., 838 F.Supp.2d 929, 954–55 (C.D.Cal.2012) (citing several other cases); Stella v. LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics USA, Inc., 564 F.Supp.2d 833, 837–38 (N.D.Ill.2008); McCalley v. Samsung Elecs Am., Inc., No. 07–2141(JAG), 2008 WL 878402, at *5 (D.N.J. Mar.31, 2008); Chavis v. Fidelity Warranty Servs., Inc., 415 F.Supp.2d 620, 626 (D.S.C.2006) (“CAFA was passed with the clear intention of expanding federal court jurisdiction over class actions” (internal quotation marks omitted)); see also S.Rep. No. 109–14, at 27 (2005), reprinted in 2005 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3, 27 (describing the CAFA as a “narrowly-tailored expansion of federal diversity jurisdiction to ensure that class actions that are truly interstate in character can be heard in federal court”). We agree that the district court had jurisdiction notwithstanding the MMWA's jurisdictional limitations.

What do you think about whether CAFA jurisdiction should supersede MMWA's more-restrictive 100-named-plaintiff rule? Do you even agree with the district courts that the MMWA provides for 100 named plaintiffs (versus only a class with at minimum 100 plaintiffs)? Please comment below, through which you can also share.

Here's a copy of the opinion: Kuns v. Ford Motor Co., 6th Cir. No. 13-3364, 2013 WL 6068459 (Nov. 19, 2013)


    Our Family will be Forever Grateful!

    - Tim S.

    Attorney Tor and the whole team at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, including the receptionist, made me feel welcome, comforted, and confident throughout my case. They showed me respect and kindness from start to finish.

    - Zandra S.

    I was feeling uncertain but after I met with Nick I felt at ease & confident. Communication was great, I was constantly informed and everyone was genuine & compassionate.

    - Sonja S.

    Coming in, we were unsure if we had a case. After meeting with Peter Brodhead, we were very confident with him. I was always comfortable because everyone was professional and friendly.

    - Elaine B.

    I liked the professionalism, efficiency, and thoroughness of your team efforts. I would like Sheila Schebek recognized for her knowledge of account details as quickly as I presented questions. She provided confidence and security in all matters.

    - John S.

Put Award-Winning
Trial Lawyers On Your Side

Contact Our Team for a Free & Confidential Case Evaluation
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.