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Frazier v. Pioneer Ams. Ltd. Liab. Co.

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20134
Nos. No. 06-30434, (5th Cir., 07/06/2006)

The court denies a motion to remand to Louisiana state court individuals' class action against a company for the alleged seepage of mercury from one of its facilities. In addition to suing the company in state court, the class filed suit against the state environmental agency for failing to monitor, inspect, and warn citizens about dangerous emissions. The company, without the agency's knowledge, then removed the case to federal court. The class then moved to have the case remanded to state court. But under the Class Action Fairness Act, the class has the burden of showing that one of the Act's exceptions to federal jurisdiction applies. Here, the class fails to meet that burden. Although a state agency is a defendant, it is not the primary defendant. Nor does the "local controversy" exception apply because the agency cannot be considered a "citizen" of the state for diversity purposes. The lower court decision denying the motion to remand is therefore upheld.