Case Details


Parens Patriae Case Brought By Attorney General Is Subject To CAFA

Filing State



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit




State ex rel. Caldwell v. Allstate Insurance Co., Inc., 536 F.3d 418 (5th cir. 2008)


Because individuals could bring suit under the state’s antitrust law, the Attorney General’s suit against insurance companies was a mass action subject to removal under CAFA.

Case Description

The state of Louisiana, represented by the Attorney General through private counsel, sued a number of insurance companies, alleging that they conspired to suppress competition in the recoveries by policy holders in Louisiana, in violation of Louisiana’s Monopolies Act. Defendants removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), and the state moved to remand to state court. Defendants argued the case, although styled as a parens patriae case, is actually a class action or mass action which seeks treble damage recovery for Louisiana consumers. The district court held that the real “parties in interest” were Louisiana policyholders, rather than the state, regardless of how the state had decided to bring the case. The Fifth Circuit affirmed. The court found that the Attorney General had authority to bring parens actions and that the Louisiana Constitution gives the Attorney General broad discretion to vindicate the interests of the state. However, the court concluded that the sole issue in determining whether the action was removable under CAFA was who the real parties in interest were. In this case, the state’s antitrust statute allowed individuals have the power to enforce the law, so the court determined that individual policy holders are the real parties in interest. With respect to the injunctive relief sought by the state, the court noted that the district court judge might sever the claims, returning the injunctive claims to state court while leaving the monetary claims in federal court.