Pushpin Holdings, LLC v. Johnson, No. 14-8006 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
A class action complaint, filed in state court, alleged that Pushpin acted as an unlicensed debt collector in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and filed 1100 Illinois small‐claims suits, all fraudulent, but that the class (defendants in those suits) sought “no more than $1,100,000.00 in compensatory damages and $2,000,000.00 in punitive damages,” and would ‘incur attorneys’ fees of no more than $400,000.00,” below the $5 million threshold for removal of a state‐court class action to a federal district court under the Class Action Fairness Act. Pushpin removed the case to federal court under the Act, 28 U.S.C. 1453(b), but the district court remanded to state court. The Seventh Circuit reversed, reasoning that the plaintiff did not irrevocably commit to obtaining less than $5 million for the class, and Pushpin’s estimate that the damages recoverable by the class could equal or exceed that amount may be reliable enough to preclude remanding the case to the state court. The lower court’s reasoning that most of the claims were barred by the Rooker‐Feldman rule was a mistake as was a statement that “there is a strong presumption in favor of remand” when a case has been removed under the Class Action Fairness Act.