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James Azadian (JD '01) Wins Landmark Victory in Ninth Circuit Case

Pepperdine Caruso Law alumnus and Board of Advisors member James S. Azadian (JD '01) of Dykema Gossett LLP, won a landmark victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Greene v. Harley-Davidson, Inc.  The case sets forth a new jurisdictional rule in the Ninth Circuit on a question that has vexed the district courts and remained unanswered, until now.

From Greene v. Harley Davidson, Inc.,  Opinion of Lee, Circuit Judge:

This case presents a technical, but unresolved, question in this circuit: If the defendant relies on potential punitive damages to meet the amount-in-controversy requirement for removal under the Class Action Fairness Act, what is the defendant's burden in establishing that amount? We hold that the defendant must show that the punitive damages amount is reasonably possible. Harley-Davidson met that standard by identifying prior cases involving the same cause of action in which the juries awarded punitive damages based on the same or higher punitive/compensatory damages ratios than the one relied upon by Harley-Davidson. We thus reverse the district court's order remanding this case to state court because it effectively required Harley-Davidson to provide evidence that the proffered punitive damages amount is probable or likely.