Adams v. 3M Co., No. 23-5232 (6th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Adams and Mounts mined coal in Kentucky. Both wore respirators to protect their lungs but nevertheless developed pneumoconiosis, a disease caused by inhaled dust particles. They sued 3M and other out-of-state respirator manufacturers and distributors. Adams’ complaint named more than 400 co-plaintiffs. Mounts’ complaint named more than 300 co-plaintiffs. 3M removed the cases to federal court. The district court remanded to state court.
On interlocutory appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed the remand order. The 2005 Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) extends federal diversity jurisdiction to certain “mass action[s]” involving “100 or more persons,” 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11)(B)(i) and permits removal of any civil action “in which monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact.” These complaints did that. Claims presented in a single complaint proceed through a common trial process absent an order to the contrary; when the plaintiffs each filed complaints with more than 100 co-plaintiffs, they offered to try their co-plaintiffs’ claims jointly. Both complaints sought “a trial by jury” and a singular “judgment,” not multiple trials and judgments. By filing a complaint predicated on a “common” “question of law or fact,” the plaintiffs offered the presence of common questions as a “ground” for pursuing a joint trial,