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Orders in the Court: SCOTUS Grants Two More Cases for 2012 Term

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 31, 2012 4:05 PM

It seems like only yesterday we were parsing the Supreme Court healthcare decision while drinking a quad-shot latte. Now, only 30 days separate us from First Monday and the Supreme Court’s 2012 Term.

Where, oh where, did our summer go?

In case you’re not already buzzing with anticipation from your own coffee habit, there were two new grants in Friday’s Supreme Court orders: Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles and Descamps v. United States.

First up: Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles.

The case is heading to the Supreme Court from the District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. (Sorry, Eighth Circuit; you don't get a shot at this appeal.) The question presented is:

When a named plaintiff attempts to defeat a defendant's right of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 by filing with a class action complaint a "stipulation" that attempts to limit the damages he "seeks" for the absent putative class members to less than the $5 million threshold for federal jurisdiction, and the defendant establishes that the actual amount in controversy, absent the "stipulation," exceeds $5 million, is the "stipulation" binding on absent class members so as to destroy federal jurisdiction?

Or, as Thomson Reuters News & Insight phrases it, "whether a company can be forced to defend itself in a state court, rather than in federal court as it might prefer, when a plaintiff's lawyer has his client sign a binding 'stipulation' limiting the size of the case."

The second grant, Descamps v. United States, comes to the Court from the most favored of circuits, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court restricted the grant in Descamps to one question: Whether the Ninth Circuit's ruling in United States v. Aguila-Montes De Oca that a state conviction for burglary where the statute is missing an element of the generic crime, may be subject to the modified categorical approach, even though most other Circuit Courts of Appeal would not allow it.

SCOTUSblog predicts that arguments in both cases will be heard during the Court's November-December sitting, which opens November 26.

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