JOHN Q. GALE, JOHN Q. GALE, LLC, FKA Gale & Kowalyshyn, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
CHICAGO TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, COMMONWEALTH LAND TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, LAWYERS TITLE INSURANCE CORPORATION, individually and as a successor in interest to Transnation Title Insurance Company, OLD REPUBLIC NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY, TICOR TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, TICOR TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY OF FLORIDA, FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, UNITED GENERAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants-Appellees, GALE & KOWALYSHYN, LLC, Plaintiff-Intervenor, TRANSNATION TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
Argued: April 30, 2019
from the United States District Court for the District of
Connecticut No. 6 Civ. 1619 (RNC), Robert N. Chatigny,
District Judge, Presiding.
Gale, a Connecticut attorney, sued a group of title insurance
companies for allegedly violating a Connecticut law that
allows only Connecticut attorneys to act as title agents in
the state. The original complaint included class- action
allegations, and the District Court exercised jurisdiction
under the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA"), 28
U.S.C. § 1332(d). After a number of years of litigation,
Plaintiffs amended the complaint to remove all class-action
allegations. The United States District Court for the
District of Connecticut (Chatigny, J.) concluded
that the withdrawal of the class-action allegations divested
it of CAFA jurisdiction and dismissed the amended complaint.
We agree and conclude that when jurisdiction-granting
class-action allegations are removed from a complaint, a
district court is divested of CAFA jurisdiction and the
action must be dismissed.
P. Jasinski, Motley Rice LLC, Hartford, CT, for appellants
John Q. Gale, John Q. Gale, LLC, FKA Gale & Kowalyshyn,
L. Hirsch (Arthur G. Jakoby, on the brief), Herrick,
Feinstein LLP, New York, N.Y., for appellees Chicago Title
Insurance Company, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company,
Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, Lawyers Title
Insurance Company, Ticor Title Insurance Company, Ticor Title
Insurance Company of Florida, Transnation Title Insurance
J. Silvestri, Jr., Verrill Dana LLP, Westport, CT, for
appellee Old Republic National Title Insurance Company.
D. Kelly, Kevin M. Fee, Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, IL, for
appellee Stewart Title Guaranty Company.
Before: PARKER, WESLEY, and CARNEY, Circuit Judges.
BARRINGTON D. PARKER, Circuit Judge
John Q. Gale is a Connecticut attorney, who, along with John
Q. Gale, LLC, FKA Gale & Kowalyshyn, LLC, different
iterations of his law firm (collectively
"Plaintiffs"), sued Defendants-Appellees, a group
of title insurance companies, alleging that they violated a
Connecticut law that allows only attorneys admitted to
practice in Connecticut to act as real estate title agents.
In the original complaint, Plaintiffs included class-action
allegations and maintained those allegations through three
subsequent amendments to the original complaint. The District
Court exercised federal jurisdiction over the initial and the
amended complaints under the Class Action Fairness Act
("CAFA"), which confers jurisdiction when, among
other things, the case "is a class action." 28
U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2).
approximately twelve years of litigation, Plaintiffs filed a
Fourth Amended Complaint ("FAC") that removed all
class-action allegations and asserted only state law claims
on behalf of the individual plaintiffs. The United States
District Court for the District of Connecticut (Chatigny,
J.) concluded that the withdrawal of the
class-action allegations divested it of CAFA jurisdiction and
dismissed the FAC without prejudice.
appeal, principally contending that the amendment did not
divest the District Court of jurisdiction. We agree with
Judge Chatigny that when (i) federal jurisdiction in a case
filed originally in federal court rests solely on CAFA, (ii)
the jurisdiction-granting class-action allegations are
eliminated from the complaint, and (iii) no new