Schutte v. Ciox Health, LLC, No. 22-1087 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Schutte retained a law firm to seek compensation for personal injuries. The firm requested electronic copies of Schutte’s medical records. Ciox produced the electronic copies but charged “Per Page Copy (Paper)” charges of $59.23 and an “Electronic Data Archive Fee” of $2.00. A Wisconsin statute lists specific maximum charges for paper, microfiche, or microfilm copies, X-ray prints, and for certification of copies, shipping, and retrieval. The statute is silent regarding charges for electronic copies.
Schutte filed a putative class action, claiming that the class includes “several thousand persons and entities.” In addition to compensatory damages, she sought exemplary damages up to $25,000 per claimant, as authorized by Wisconsin law for “knowing and willful” violations. Ciox removed the action to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), arguing: Schutte’s proposed class has at least 100 members; there is at least minimal diversity of citizenship between Schutte and the defendants; and based on the complaint’s allegations, the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d).
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of a motion to remand to state court. Ciox provided a “plausible good faith estimate” that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. The local controversy exception does not apply because the factual allegations in a recent Montana class action against Ciox were “identical” to Schutte’s.