Today, the Fifth Circuit reversed an order remanding a class action case, which arose out of Hurricane Katrina, to Orleans Parish, Louisiana, because the plaintiff failed to show the Louisiana citizenship of two-thirds of class members under the Class Action Fairness Act.  The plaintiff alleged that an infirmary and hospital in New Orleans caused injury and death by providing defective and unreasonably dangerous facilities for patients.  The court held that evidence of class members’ primary billing addresses fell short of establishing the elements of citizenship — domicile plus intent to stay there indefinitely — because the plaintiff didn’t also provide evidence that the infirmary and hospital patients meant to stay at their billing addresses as of the time the plaintiff sued, 10 months after Katrina.  The court accordingly ordered the district court to keep the case.  Preston v. Tenet Healthsystem Memorial Medical Center, Inc., No. 07-30132 (5th Cir. Apr. 25, 2007).

Preston may turn on the unique fact, of which the court appears to take judicial notice, of "mass evacuation" from New Orleans after Katrina.  Blawgletter so hopes.

Barry Barnett

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