Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Susan Illston, District Judge, Presiding D.C. Nos. 3:10-cv-05212-SI 3:10-cv-05711-SI
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas, Circuit Judge:
Argued and Submitted September 13, 2011-San Francisco, California
Before: Sidney R. Thomas and N. Randy Smith, Circuit Judges, and Solomon Oliver, Jr., Chief District Judge.*fn1
This appeal presents the question, inter alia, of whether parens patriae actions filed by state Attorneys General constitute class actions within the meaning of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"), Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4 (codified at 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d), 1453, 1711-15). We conclude that they do not, and we affirm the remand order entered by the district court.
The Attorneys General of Washington and California filed parens patriae actions in their states' courts alleging that Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display ("TFT-LCD") panels, and that state agencies and consumers were injured by paying inflated prices for products containing TFT-LCD panels.
The complaints allege that between 1998 and 2006, Defendants engaged in an international conspiracy to fix the prices of TFT-LCD panels in violation of state antitrust laws, which resulted in higher prices for state agencies and citizens purchasing products containing TFT-LCD panels.*fn2
The Attorney General of Washington, in the name of the state and as parens patriae on behalf of state citizens, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Defendants in state court. The Attorney General's complaint in this litigation alleges violations of the Act and seeks: (1) declaratory and injunctive relief; (2) civil penalties; (3) and damages and restitution "to the State of Washington on behalf of its state agencies and consumers." The consumers are Washington residents who purchased finished products, such as televisions and cell phones, containing TFT-LCD panels.
The Attorney General of California filed a similar complaint in state court, as parens patriae on behalf of California residents. The California Attorney General's complaint alleges statutory violations and unjust enrichment and seeks:
(1) declaratory and injunctive relief; (2) civil penalties; and (3) restitution and treble damages for state agencies, municipalities, and California residents who purchased finished products containing TFT-LCD panels.
Defendants removed the California action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and the Washington action to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleging federal jurisdiction under CAFA. Specifically, Defendants alleged that consumers were the real parties in interest for the monetary relief claims, and ...