Case Details


Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA); Parens Patriae

Filing State



U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York




Commonwealth ex rel. Conway v. Purdue Pharma (In re Oxycontin Antitrust Litigation), 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 111068 (S.D.N.Y. 2011)


Kentucky case seeking injunctive relief and recovery of Medicaid costs was not a class action subject to CAFA removal because state did not seek restitution on behalf of consumers.

Case Description

Kentucky, through its Attorney General, brought an action in state court alleging that defendants violated Kentucky state law by misleading health care providers, consumers, and government officials regarding the risks of addiction associated with the prescription drug OxyContin. Defendants removed the action to federal court, arguing the federal court had federal question jurisdiction and that the case was a putative class action removable under CAFA.The state sought remand. The court held that there was no federal question jurisdiction, and then turned to the question of whether CAFA applied. CAFA applies to certain actions where there are at least 100 plaintiffs. The defendants argued that Kentucky consumers were the real parties in interest, rather than the state, so there were more than 100 plaintiffs. The court held that the state, not its citizens, was the real party in interest, so CAFA did not apply. The state brought the action in both its proprietary and parens patriae capacities, seeking damages for an injury the Commonwealth suffered (payment of Medicaid claims involving OxyContin) and equitable and injunctive relief on the basis of its “quasi-sovereign interest” in protecting the health and safety of its citizens. The court pointed out that “Nowhere in the restitution claim does the Commonwealth seek damages on behalf of individual Kentucky consumers.”