Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance Co. v. CE Design, Ltd., No. 15-3332 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
CE, an Illinois corporation that litigates claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, filed a class action in Illinois state court accusing Homegrown, a Canadian marketing firm, of sending CE junk faxes. The parties settled in 2007 for $5 million plus interest and costs. Homegrown failed to notify its insurer, SMI, about the litigation and used its own counsel; the settlement was structured to be enforceable only against Homegrown’s SMI liability policy. CE, as assignee of Homegrown's rights under the policy, filed a citation to discover assets in an effort to recover on the judgment. Rath, SMI’s Canadian attorney, wrote a letter to the Illinois court advising that SMI was denying coverage. SMI took no other steps to fight the citation. The court entered judgment for CE. CE unsuccessfully attempted to enforce that judgment in Saskatchewan, where SMI is based. The Saskatchewan court awarded SMI costs. Seven years later, SMI moved to enforce the Saskatchewan judgment in federal district court. The Seventh Circuit agreed with the district court that there was no basis for federal jurisdiction, “an outcome that is especially appropriate given the comity concerns that pervade this litigation.” The Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), is inapplicable because the defendant is the class and diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. 1332(a)(2), is inapplicable because no individual class member could satisfy the $75,000 amount‐in‐controversy requirement. No exception to the general prohibition on aggregating claims applies.