The Class Action Fairness Act excludes jurisdiction over class actions with less than 100 putative class members. In this action brought by Louisiana Sheriffs and Law Enforcement Districts, the U.S. Fifth Circuit holds that the Law Enforcement Districts are separate entities from the Sheriffs, and that together they bring the total number of proposed classmembers over the 100-plaintiff threshold.

The Court nevertheless concludes that the case does not belong in Federal Court, as the Act also includes a Local Controversy Exception for cases involving at least one in-state defendant whose alleged conduct forms a significant basis for the claims asserted and from whom significant relief is sought.  In this case, the plaintiffs allege harm from unlawful conduct spanning from 2015 to 2020 on the part of defendants that include an in-state business allegedly responsible for all of plaintiffs’ harms until 2018, when it was acquired by an out-of-state company. The Fifth Circuit concludes that the in-state defendants’ conduct forms a “significant basis” for plaintiffs’ claims, and that the plaintiffs are seeking “significant relief” from the in-state defendants. Accordingly, the District Court’s remand order is affirmed.


Louisiana v. i3 Verticals Inc., No.22-30553, 2023 U.S.App.LEXIS 23400 (5th Cir. Sept. 1, 2023).