throbber
(Slip Opinion)
`
`
`
` OCTOBER TERM, 2013
`
`
`Syllabus
`
`1
`
` NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
`
`
`
` being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
`
`
`
` The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
`
` prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
`
` See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`
`
` Syllabus
`
`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD, ATTORNEY GENERAL v.
`
`
`
`
` AU OPTRONICS CORP. ET AL.
`
`CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
`
`THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
` No. 12–1036. Argued November 6, 2013—Decided January 14, 2014
`
`
` Congress enacted the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) to low-
`er diversity jurisdiction requirements in class actions and, as rele-
`
` vant here, in mass actions, i.e., civil actions “in which monetary relief
`claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the
`
` ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or
` fact,” 28 U. S. C. §1332(d)(11)(B)(i). Petitioner Mississippi sued re-
`
`
` spondent liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturers in state court,
`alleging violations of state law and seeking, inter alia, restitution for
`LCD purchases made by itself and its citizens. Respondents sought
`to remove the case to federal court. The District Court held that the
`suit qualified as a mass action under §1332(d)(11)(B)(i), but remand-
`ed the suit to state court on the ground that it fell within CAFA’s
`“general public” exception, §1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(III). The Fifth Circuit
`reversed, agreeing with the District Court that the suit was a mass
`action but finding the general public exception inapplicable.
`Held: Because Mississippi is the only named plaintiff, this suit does not
`constitute a mass action under CAFA. Pp. 5–14.
`
`(a) Contrary to respondents’ argument, CAFA’s “100 or more per-
`sons” phrase does not encompass unnamed persons who are real par-
`ties in interest to claims brought by named plaintiffs. Congress knew
`how to draft language to that effect when it intended such a meaning,
`see, e.g., §§1332(d)(5)(B), 1332(d)(1)(D). That it did not do so in the
`mass action provision indicates that Congress did not want the provi-
`sion’s numerosity requirement to be satisfied by counting unnamed
`
`
`individuals who possess an interest in the suit.
`
`
`Respondents’ understanding also cannot be reconciled with the fact
`
`that the “100 or more persons” are not unspecified individuals with
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`
`Syllabus
`no participation in the suit but are the “plaintiffs” subsequently re-
`ferred to in the provision, i.e., the very parties proposing to join their
`claims in a single trial. This is evident in two key ways. First, CAFA
`uses “persons” and “plaintiffs” the same way they are used in Federal
`Rule of Civil Procedure 20, which refers to “persons” as individuals
`who are proposing to join as “plaintiffs” in a single action. Second, it
`is difficult to imagine how the “claims of 100 or more” unnamed indi-
`viduals could be “proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the
`. . . claims” of some completely different group of named plaintiffs
`“involve common questions of law or fact.”
`
`Construing “plaintiffs” to include both named and unnamed real
`
`parties in interest would stretch the meaning of “plaintiff” beyond
`
`recognition. A “plaintiff” is commonly understood to be a party who
`
`brings a civil suit in a court of law, not anyone, named or unnamed,
`
`whom a suit may benefit. Moreover, respondents’ definition would
`
`also have to apply to the mass action provision’s subsequent refer-
`
`ence to “plaintiffs” in the phrase “jurisdiction shall exist only over
`
`those plaintiffs whose claims [exceed $75,000],” §1332(d)(11)(B)(i).
`See Brown v. Gardner, 513 U. S. 115, 118. This would result in an
`administrative nightmare that Congress could not possibly have in-
`tended, see Griffin v. Oceanic Contractors, Inc., 458 U. S. 564, 575,
`where district courts would have to identify hundreds (or in this case,
`hundreds of thousands) of unnamed parties whose claims are for less
`than $75,000 and then decide how to dispose of their claims. Pp. 5–
`10.
`
`(b) Statutory context reinforces this Court’s reading of the mass ac-
`
`tion provision. CAFA provides that once removal occurs, a case shall
`
`not be transferred to another court “unless a majority of the plaintiffs
`in the action request transfer.” §1332(d)(11)(C)(i). If “plaintiffs” in-
`cluded unnamed parties, it would be surpassingly difficult for a court
`to poll the enormous number of real parties in interest to decide
`whether an action may be transferred. Moreover, respondents’ posi-
`tion that the action here should be removed because it is similar to a
`class action fails to recognize that the mass action provision functions
`
`
`largely as a backstop to ensure that CAFA’s relaxed class action ju-
`risdictional rules cannot be evaded by a suit that names a host of
`
`
`plaintiffs rather than using the class device. Had Congress wanted
`CAFA to authorize removal of representative actions brought by
`States as sole plaintiffs on respondents’ theory, it would have done so
`
`
`through the class action provision, not the mass action provision.
`Pp. 10–11.
`
`(c) This Court has interpreted the diversity jurisdiction statute to
`require courts in certain contexts to look behind the pleadings to en-
`sure that parties are not improperly creating or destroying diversity
`
`
`
`2
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`
`Syllabus
`jurisdiction, see, e.g., Wecker v. National Enameling & Stamping Co.,
`204 U. S. 176, 185–186, but Congress did not intend this background
`inquiry to apply to the mass action provision. First, it could make
`sense to incorporate the background inquiry into the mass action
`provision if the inquiry had previously been applied in a similar
`manner. That is not the case here, however, and so any presumption
`
`that Congress wanted to incorporate the inquiry, if it exists at all,
`would be comparatively weak. Second, even if the background prin-
`ciple had previously been applied in this manner, Congress expressly
`indicated that it did not want the principle to apply to the mass ac-
`tion provision both through the textual indicators described above
`and by prohibiting defendants from joining unnamed individuals to a
`
`lawsuit in order to turn it into a mass action, §1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(II).
`
`Requiring district courts to identify unnamed persons interested in
`
`the suit would run afoul of that intent. Pp. 11–13.
`701 F. 3d 796, reversed and remanded.
` SOTOMAYOR, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
`
`
`
`
`
`3
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`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
`1
`
`
` NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
`
`
`
` preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
`
` notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-
`
` ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
`
`
` that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
`
`
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`_________________
`
` No. 12–1036
`_________________
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. JIM HOOD, ATTORNEY
`
`
`
`GENERAL, PETITIONER v. AU OPTRONICS
`
`CORPORATION ET AL.
`
`
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
`
`[January 14, 2014]
`
` JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR delivered the opinion of the Court.
`Under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA or
`
`Act), defendants in civil suits may remove “mass actions”
`from state to federal court. CAFA defines a “mass action”
`
`as “any civil action . . . in which monetary relief claims of
`
`100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the
`ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common ques-
`tions of law or fact.” 28 U. S. C. §1332(d)(11)(B)(i). The
`question presented is whether a suit filed by a State as the
`sole plaintiff constitutes a “mass action” under CAFA
`where it includes a claim for restitution based on injuries
`suffered by the State’s citizens. We hold that it does not.
`
`According to CAFA’s plain text, a “mass action” must
`involve monetary claims brought by 100 or more persons
`who propose to try those claims jointly as named plain-
`tiffs. Because the State of Mississippi is the only named
`plaintiff in the instant action, the case must be remanded
`to state court.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`2
`
`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
`I
`
`A
`
`Congress enacted CAFA in order to “amend the proce-
`
`dures that apply to consideration of interstate class ac-
`tions.” 119 Stat. 4. In doing so, Congress recognized that
`“[c]lass action lawsuits are an important and valuable part
`of the legal system.” CAFA §2. It was concerned, however,
`
`
`
`that certain requirements of federal diversity jurisdic-
`tion, 28 U. S. C. §1332, had functioned to “kee[p] cases of
`national importance” in state courts rather than federal
`courts. CAFA §2.
`CAFA accordingly loosened the requirements for diver-
`
`sity jurisdiction for two types of cases—“class actions” and
`“mass actions.” The Act defines “class action” to mean
`“any civil action filed under rule 23 of the Federal Rules of
`Civil Procedure or similar State statute or rule of judicial
`procedure.” 28 U. S. C. §1332(d)(1)(B). And it defines
`“mass action” to mean “any civil action . . . in which mone-
`tary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed
`to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’
`claims
`involve common questions of
`law or
`fact.”
`§1332(d)(11)(B)(i).
`For class and mass actions, CAFA expanded diversity
`
`jurisdiction in two key ways. First, it replaced the ordi-
`nary requirement of complete diversity of citizenship
`among all plaintiffs and defendants, see State Farm Fire
`
`& Casualty Co. v. Tashire, 386 U. S. 523, 530–531 (1967),
`
`
`with a requirement of minimal diversity. Under that re-
`quirement, a federal court may exercise jurisdiction over a
`class action if “any member of a class of plaintiffs is
`a citizen of a State different from any defendant.”
`
`§1332(d)(2)(A). The same rule applies to mass actions.
`
`See §1332(d)(11)(A) (“[A] mass action shall be deemed . . .
`removable under [§§1332(d)(2) through (d)(10)]”). Second,
`whereas §1332(a) ordinarily requires each plaintiff’s claim
`to exceed the sum or value of $75,000, see Exxon Mobil
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`Corp. v. Allapattah Services, Inc., 545 U. S. 546, 554–555
`(2005), CAFA grants federal jurisdiction over class and
`mass actions in which the aggregate amount in contro-
`versy exceeds $5 million. §§1332(d)(2), (d)(6), (d)(11)(A).
`
`Class and mass actions filed in state court that satisfy
`CAFA’s requirements may be removed to federal court, 28
`U. S. C. §1453, but federal jurisdiction in a mass action,
`unlike a class action, “shall exist only over those plaintiffs”
`whose claims individually satisfy the $75,000 amount in
`controversy requirement, §1332(d)(11)(B)(i).1
`
`B
`
`Respondents manufacture liquid crystal displays, or
`LCDs. In March 2011, the State of Mississippi sued them
`in state court, alleging that they had formed an interna-
`tional cartel to restrict competition and raise prices in
`the LCD market. The State claimed that these actions vio-
`lated two Mississippi statutes: the Mississippi Antitrust Act,
`Miss. Code Ann. §75–21–1 et seq. (2009), and the Missis-
`sippi Consumer Protection Act, §75–24–1 et seq. (2009 and
`Cum. Supp. 2013). The State sought injunctive relief and
`civil penalties under both statutes, along with punitive
`damages, costs, and attorney’s fees. It also sought restitu-
`tion for its own purchases “of LCD products and the pur-
`
`chases of its citizens.” App. to Brief in Opposition 65a;
`
`§75–24–11.
`
`Respondents filed a notice to remove the case from state
`to federal court, arguing that the case was removable
`under CAFA as either a “class action” or a “mass action.”
`The District Court ruled that the suit did not qualify as
`a “class action” because it was “not brought pursuant to
`Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 or a ‘similar State
`
`statute or rule of judicial procedure.’” 876 F. Supp. 2d
`——————
` 1CAFA provides certain exceptions for class actions that involve mat-
`
`ters of principally local or state concern. See 28 U. S. C. §§1332(d)(3)–
`(5). None of them are at issue in this case.
`
`
`
`3
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
`758, 769 (SD Miss. 2012). But it held that the suit did
`qualify as a “mass action,” because “[i]t is a civil action ‘in
`which monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are
`proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plain-
`
`tiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact.’” Id.,
`at 771. The District Court reached that conclusion on the
`basis of Fifth Circuit precedent in Louisiana ex rel. Cald-
`well v. Allstate Ins. Co., 536 F. 3d 418 (CA5 2008), which it
`
`
`understood to “stan[d] for the proposition that the words
`‘persons’ and ‘plaintiffs’ in [the mass action definition] are
`to be defined as ‘real parties in interest.’” 876 F. Supp. 2d,
`at 771. Applying that rule, the court found that 100 or
`more unidentified Mississippi consumers had purchased
`LCD screens and were therefore real parties in interest to
`the State’s restitution claim. Ibid. The court noted the
`“possibility that a ‘mass action’ should be thought of as a
`
`‘mass joinder,’”—that is, as a suit involving 100 or more
`“named plaintiffs.” Ibid., n. 9. But it deemed that inter-
`pretation to be foreclosed by Caldwell.
`
`The District Court nonetheless remanded the case to
`state court on the basis of CAFA’s “general public excep-
`tion,” which excludes from the “mass action” definition
`“any civil action in which . . . all of the claims in the action
`are asserted on behalf of the general public (and not on
`behalf of individual claimants or members of a purported
`class) pursuant to a State statute specifically authorizing
`such action.” 28 U. S. C. §1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(III).
`
`The Court of Appeals reversed. 701 F. 3d 796 (CA5
`2012). It agreed with the District Court’s determination
`
`that Mississippi’s suit is not a “class action” under CAFA.2
`Id., at 799. It also agreed that, under Caldwell, the suit
`qualifies as a “mass action” because “[t]he real parties in
`interest in Mississippi’s suit are those more than 100 . . .
`individual citizens who purchased the [LCD] products
`——————
`2Respondents do not challenge this ruling before this Court.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`4
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`within Mississippi.” 701 F. 3d, at 800. It disagreed, how-
`ever, with the District Court’s ruling that the suit falls
`
`within the general public exception.
`Id., at 802–803.3
`Judge Elrod concurred in the judgment, noting that after
`the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Caldwell, three Courts of
`Appeals had deemed similar lawsuits not to be mass ac-
`tions removable under CAFA.4 We granted certiorari to
`
`
`resolve this split of authority, 569 U. S. ___ (2013), and
`now reverse.
`
`5
`
`
`
`II
`
`
`A
`
`Our analysis begins with the statutory text. Sebelius v.
`
`Cloer, 569 U. S. ___, ___ (2013) (slip op., at 6). The statute
`provides:
`“[T]he term mass action means any civil action (except
`a [class action]) in which monetary relief claims of 100
`or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on
`the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common
`questions of law or fact, except that jurisdiction shall
`exist only over those plaintiffs whose claims in a mass
`action satisfy the jurisdictional amount requirements
`under subsection (a).” §1332(d)(11)(B)(i).
`The parties do not dispute that this provision encom-
`
`passes suits that are brought jointly by 100 or more
`named plaintiffs who propose to try their claims together.
`The question is whether the provision also includes suits
`
`——————
`3The Court of Appeals did so on the rationale that because individual
`Mississippi consumers are real parties in interest to the State’s restitu-
`tion claim, the general public exception’s requirement that “all of
`the claims” must be “asserted on behalf of the general public (and not
`on behalf of individual claimants)” was not satisfied. 28 U. S. C.
`§1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(III).
` 4See AU Optronics Corp. v. South Carolina, 699 F. 3d 385 (CA4
`
`
`2012); Nevada v. Bank of Am. Corp., 672 F. 3d 661 (CA9 2012); LG
`Display Co. v. Madigan, 665 F. 3d 768 (CA7 2011).
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`6
`
`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
`brought by fewer than 100 named plaintiffs on the theory
`
`that there may be 100 or more unnamed persons who are
`real parties in interest as beneficiaries to any of the plain-
`tiffs’ claims. Respondents argue that the provision covers
`such suits because “claims of 100 or more persons” refers
`to “the persons to whom the claim belongs, i.e., the real
`
`parties in interest to the claims,” regardless of whether
`those persons are named or unnamed. Brief for Respond-
`ents 19 (emphasis in original). We disagree.
`
`To start, the statute says “100 or more persons,” not
`
`“100 or more named or unnamed real parties in interest.”
`Had Congress intended the latter, it easily could have
`drafted language to that effect. Indeed, when Congress
`wanted a numerosity requirement in CAFA to be satisfied
`by counting unnamed parties in interest in addition to
`named plaintiffs, it explicitly said so: CAFA provides that
`in order for a class action to be removable, “the number
`
`of members of all proposed plaintiff classes” must be 100
`or greater, §1332(d)(5)(B), and it defines “class members”
`to mean “the persons (named or unnamed) who fall within
`the definition of the proposed or certified class,”
`§1332(d)(1)(D). Congress chose not to use the phrase
`“named or unnamed” in CAFA’s mass action provision, a
`decision we understand to be intentional. See Dean v.
`United States, 556 U. S. 568, 573 (2009) (“‘[W]here Con-
`gress includes particular language in one section of a
`statute but omits it in another section of the same Act, it
`is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally
`and purposely in the disparate inclusion or exclusion’”).
`
`More fundamentally, respondents’ interpretation cannot
`be reconciled with the fact that the “100 or more persons”
`referred to in the statute are not unspecified individuals
`who have no actual participation in the suit, but instead
`the very “plaintiffs” referred to later in the sentence—the
`parties who are proposing to join their claims in a single
`trial. Congress made this understanding evident in two
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
`7
`
`
`
`
`
`key ways.
`
`First, we presume that “‘Congress is aware of existing
`law when it passes legislation.’” Hall v. United States,
`566 U. S. ___, ___ (2012) (slip op., at 9). Here, Congress
`
`used the terms “persons” and “plaintiffs” just as they are
`used in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20, governing
`party joinder. Where §1332(d)(11)(B)(i) requires that the
`“claims of 100 or more persons [must be] proposed to be
`tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims in-
`volve common questions of law or fact,” Rule 20 provides
`that “[p]ersons may join in one action as plaintiffs if they
`assert any right to relief jointly . . . and any question of
`law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the ac-
`
`tion.” Thus, just as it is used in Rule 20, the term “per-
`sons” in §1332(d)(11)(B)(i) refers to the individuals who
`are proposing to join as plaintiffs in a single action.
`
`Second, respondents’ interpretation of “persons” cannot
`square with the statute’s requirement that the claims of
`the “100 or more persons” must be proposed for joint trial
`“on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common
`questions of law or fact.” §1332(d)(11)(B)(i). It is difficult
`to imagine how the claims of one set of unnamed individ-
`
`
`
`uals could be proposed for joint trial on the ground that the
`claims of some completely different group of named plain-
`tiffs share common questions. The better understanding
`
`is that Congress meant for the “100 or more persons” and
`the proposed “plaintiffs” to be one and the same.
`
`Recognizing that the statute’s use of the term “persons”
`could be a reference to proposed plaintiffs, respondents
`assert that “plaintiffs,” like “persons,” should be construed
`to “includ[e] both named and unnamed real parties in in-
`terest.” Brief for Respondents 24. But that stretches
`the meaning of “plaintiff” beyond recognition. The term
`“plaintiff” is among the most commonly understood of
`legal terms of art: It means a “party who brings a civil suit
`in a court of law.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1267 (9th ed.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
`2009); see also Webster’s Third New International Dic-
`tionary 1729 (1961) (defining “plaintiff” to mean “one who
`commences a personal action or lawsuit,” or “the complain-
`ing party in any litigation”). It certainly does not mean
`“anyone, named or unnamed, whom a suit may benefit,” as
`
`respondents suggest.5
`Moreover, Congress used the term “plaintiffs” twice in
`
`
`the mass action provision. The provision encompasses
`actions in which monetary “claims of 100 or more persons
`are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the
`plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions,” and it then
`provides that “jurisdiction shall exist only over those
`plaintiffs whose claims in a mass action satisfy the juris-
`dictional amount requiremen[t]” of $75,000. §1332(d)
`(11)(B)(i).
`If respondents are correct that “plaintiffs”
`means unnamed parties in interest where it is used the
`first time, then so too the second. After all, the “pre-
`sumption that a given term is used to mean the same
`thing throughout a statute” is “at its most vigorous when a
`term is repeated within a given sentence.” Brown v.
`Gardner, 513 U. S. 115, 118 (1994).
`Yet if the term “plaintiffs” is stretched to include all
`
`unnamed individuals with an interest in the suit, then
`§1332(d)(11)(B)(i)’s requirement that “jurisdiction shall
`exist only over those plaintiffs whose claims [exceed
`$75,000]” becomes an administrative nightmare that
`Congress could not possibly have intended, see Griffin v.
`Oceanic Contractors, Inc., 458 U. S. 564, 575 (1982). How
`is a district court to identify the unnamed parties whose
`claims in a given case are for less than $75,000? Would
`the court in this case, for instance, have to hold an eviden-
`tiary hearing to determine the identity of each of the
`
`——————
`5Congress could of course require a real party in interest inquiry in a
`statute that uses the term “plaintiff” simply by saying so. But it has
`
` not done that here.
`
`
`
`8
`
`
`
`
`
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`
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`

`
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`Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
` hundreds of thousands of unnamed Mississippi citizens
`
`who purchased one of respondents’ LCD products between
`1996 and 2006 (the period alleged in the complaint)? Even
`if it could identify every such person, how would it ascer-
`tain the amount in controversy for each individual claim?
`Respondents suggest that “[i]n some circumstances, de-
`fendants may be able to identify from their payment rec-
`ords any persons who may have claims for overpayments,”
`but they stop notably short of claiming to possess such
`
`decades-old records themselves. Brief for Respondents 25.
`Furthermore, what would happen with individuals
`
`whose claims were valued at less than $75,000? The
`District Court in this case suggested that if the suit were
`deemed a mass action, it would sever the claim for “resti-
`tution for losses incurred by individuals claiming less than
`or equal to $75,000 each” and remand that claim back to
`state court, while allowing the other claims (including the
`restitution claims exceeding $75,000) to proceed in federal
`court. 876 F. Supp. 2d, at 775. Even respondents do not
`defend that outcome, presumably because it would mean
`that much of the State’s lawsuit could proceed in state
`
`court after all, simultaneously with the newly severed
`
`parallel federal action.6
`
`We think it unlikely that Congress intended that federal
`district courts engage in these unwieldy inquiries. By
`
`contrast, interpreting “plaintiffs” in accordance with its
`
`usual meaning—to refer to the actual named parties who
`——————
`6Respondents suggest that a district court might be able to exercise
`supplemental jurisdiction over the claims that fall beneath $75,000,
`thereby avoiding the problem of identifying and remanding such claims
`to the state court. We need not decide the issue here, but we note that
`at least one Court of Appeals has rejected that view. See Lowery v.
`Alabama Power Co., 483 F. 3d 1184, 1206, n. 51 (CA11 2007) (holding
`that because supplemental jurisdiction does not apply where a federal
`statute “ ‘expressly provide[s] otherwise,’ ” 28 U. S. C. §1367(a), the
`
`
`mass action provision’s explicit exclusion of jurisdiction over claims
`
`beneath $75,000 negates supplemental jurisdiction over such claims).
`
`
`
`9
`
`
`
`
`
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`
`
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`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`10
`
`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
`bring an action—leads to a straightforward, easy to ad-
`minister rule under which a court would examine whether
`the plaintiffs have pleaded in good faith the requisite
`
`amount. See Horton v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 367 U. S.
`348, 353 (1961). Our decision thus comports with the
`commonsense observation that “when judges must decide
`jurisdictional matters, simplicity is a virtue.” See Stand-
`ard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, 568 U. S. ___, ___ (2013) (slip
`op., at 6).
`
`
`
`
`
`B
`
`Our reading of the mass action provision’s text is rein-
`
`forced by the statutory context. See Mohamad v. Palestin-
`ian Authority, 566 U. S. ___, ___ (2012) (slip op., at 5–6).
`
`First, the provision of CAFA governing transfer motions
`confirms our view that the term “plaintiffs” refers to actual
`named parties as opposed to unnamed real parties in
`interest. That provision, §1332(d)(11)(C)(i), provides that
`once a mass action has been removed to federal court, it
`“shall not thereafter be transferred to any other court . . .
`unless a majority of the plaintiffs in the action request
`transfer.”
`If respondents are correct that “plaintiffs”
`means “unnamed parties in interest,” it will be surpass-
`ingly difficult for a court to decide in a case like this one
`
`whether an action may be transferred. The District Court
`itself acknowledged this problem, noting that it would
`have to identify and communicate with “hundreds of thou-
`sands if not millions of real parties in interest” to “pol[l]
`[them] about their preferred forum” if respondents’ inter-
`pretation were correct. 876 F. Supp. 2d, at 777.
`
`The context in which the mass action provision was
`enacted lends further support to our conclusion. Congress’
`overriding concern in enacting CAFA was with class ac-
`tions. See Preamble, 119 Stat. 4 (describing CAFA as an
`“[a]ct to amend the procedures that apply to consideration
`of interstate class actions”); CAFA §2 (Congress’ findings
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`11
`
`
`
`
`
`
`Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`with respect to class actions). The mass action provision
`thus functions largely as a backstop to ensure that CAFA’s
`relaxed jurisdictional rules for class actions cannot be
`evaded by a suit that names a host of plaintiffs rather
`than using the class device. Respondents’ argument fails
`to recognize this key distinction. Their position is ulti-
`mately that “[t]his action is similar to a class action,” such
`that it should be removed. Brief for Respondents 27. But
`if Congress had wanted representative actions brought by
`States as sole plaintiffs to be removable under CAFA on
`the theory that they are in substance no different from
`class actions, it would have done so through the class
`
`action provision, not the one governing mass actions.7
`III
`
`Rather than relying on the text of CAFA as the source of
`
`its real party in interest inquiry, the Court of Appeals
`appeared to find such an inquiry necessary on the basis of
`what it understood to be a background principle: that
`
`“federal courts look to the substance of the action and not
`only at the labels that the parties may attach.” Caldwell,
`
`536 F. 3d, at 424. This was error.
`
`We have interpreted the diversity jurisdiction statute to
`
`require courts in certain contexts to look behind the plead-
`ings to ensure that parties are not improperly creating or
`destroying diversity jurisdiction. We have held, for exam-
`ple, that a plaintiff may not keep a case out of federal
`court by fraudulently naming a nondiverse defendant.
`
`Wecker v. National Enameling & Stamping Co., 204 U. S.
`176, 185–186 (1907). Nor may a plaintiff create diversity
`by collusively assigning his interest in an action. Kramer
`
`v. Caribbean Mills, Inc., 394 U. S. 823, 825–830 (1969);
`——————
`7The parties both point to the “general public exception,”
` §1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(III), in support of their respective positions. But
`
`because the foregoing arguments resolve this case, we need not con-
`
` strue that provision here.
`
`
`
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`
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`

`
`12
`
`
`
` MISSISSIPPI EX REL. HOOD v. AU OPTRONICS CORP.
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
` see also 28 U. S. C. §1359. And in cases involving a State
`
`or state official, we have inquired into the real party in
`interest because a State’s presence as a party will destroy
`complete diversity. Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. Missouri
`Railroad and Warehouse Comm’rs, 183 U. S. 53, 58–59
`(1901).
`But the question in this case is not simply whether
`
`
`there exists some background principle of analyzing the
`real parties in interest to a suit; the question is whether
`Congress intended that courts engage in that analysis
`when deciding whether a suit is a mass action. Recogniz-
`ing this fact, respondents do not argue that the real party
`in interest inquiry employed in the above cases somehow
`supersedes the text of CAFA; they instead argue that we
`should read CAFA in light of those cases because “‘Con-
`gress expects its statutes to be read in conformity with
`this Court’s precedents.’” Brief for Respondents 19 (quot-
`ing United States v. Wells, 519 U. S. 482, 495 (1997)). For
`two reasons, however, we conclude that Congress did not
`
`intend the background inquiry to apply to the mass action
`provision.
`
`First, it makes sense to infer Congress’ intent to incor-
`
`porate a background principle into a new statute where
`the principle has previously been applied in a similar
`manner. But that is not the case here. The background
`real party in interest inquiry identifies what party’s (or
`parties’) citizenship should be considered in determining
`diversity. The inquiry that respondents urge is quite dif-
`ferent: It is an attempt to count up additional unnamed
`parties in order to satisfy the mass action provision’s
`numerosity requirement. Respondents offer no reason to
`believe that Congress intended to extend the real party
`inquiry to this new circumstance, and so any presumption
`that Congress wanted to incorporate the inquiry, if it
`exists in this case at all, would be comparatively weak. Cf.
`Meyer v. Holley, 537 U. S. 280, 286 (2003) (“Congress’
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
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`
`
`

`
`
`Cite as: 571 U. S. ____ (2014)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`silence, while permitting an inference that Congress in-
`tended to apply ordinary background tort principles,
`cannot show that it intended to apply an unusual modifi-
`
`cation of those rules”).8
`Second, even if the background principle had previously
`
`been applied in the manner sought by respondents, Con-
`gress provided express indications that it did not want the
`principle to apply to the mass action provision. It speci-
`fied that “the term ‘mass action’ shall not include any civil
`action in which . . . the claims are joined upon motion of a
`defendant.”
`§1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(II). By prohibiting de-
`fendants from joining unnamed individuals to a lawsuit in
`order to turn it into a mass action, Congress demonstrated
`
`its

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