The district court remanded this case sua sponte on the ground that the defendant had waived its right to remove under Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) by filing a demurrer to the complaint in state court before filing the notice of removal. In doing so, the district court exceeded its statutory authority. It may remand sua sponte only based on a jurisdictional defect. A waiver is not a jurisdictional defect. Also, the district court erred because defendant didn’t waive its right to remove by filing the demurrer. Plaintiff’s complaint did not reveal on its face that the case was removable under CAFA since it did not show the amount in controversy. The defendant owes no duty to investigate to determine removability if it can’t ascertain the amount in controversy from the face of the complaint. Also, here defendant removed before plaintiff opposed or the state court ruled on its demurrer. Merely filing that pleading on the last possible day to respond to the complaint did not waive defendant’s right to remove.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal (Smith, J.); February 1, 2018; 2018 WL 650998.