We're sorry to have to do this. We'll try to minimize your agony. But be warned: These are the two least interesting cases currently on the Supreme Court's docket, and the only two cases to come out of the Tenth Circuit (so far).
What are talking about? Sufficient fact pleading for removal of massive class action lawsuits to federal court and some barely comprehensible case involving the federal Tax Injunction Act and the ability of federal courts to hear non-taxpayers' complaints about a state reporting law that is a "secondary aspect of state tax administration."
Actually, on second thought, these are kind of interesting ... in a "law school casebook fodder/exam torture" sort of way.
Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company, LLC v. Owens (Oral Arguments: Yesterday)
This case was argued Tuesday (October 7), and we hate to say it, but it was exactly as promised: not particularly interesting. In fact the first 15 pages of the transcript are a back-and-forth on whether the Supreme Court can or should review the case in the first place -- not the "do you need to plead sufficient facts to remove to federal court" issue that the appellants were hoping they'd get to.
Which is a shame, because there is an interesting underlying issue. The Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) lets defendants remove cases to federal court if the case has 100 or more class members and $5 million at stake. In oral arguments, Dart's counsel repeatedly referred to an informal Tenth Circuit rule that requires attaching proof of these two benchmarks to the notice of removal. But the statute and, according to counsel, the other circuits only require "a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal."
It's the sort of issue that gets the CivPro geek in all of us hot and bothered.
Issue: Whether a defendant seeking removal to federal court is required to include evidence supporting federal jurisdiction in the notice of removal, or is alleging the required "short and plain statement of the grounds for removal" enough?
Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl (Oral Arguments: December 8)
Colorado charges a 2.9 percent sales tax on out-of-state purchases, including online purchases, a tax which is to be paid by the consumers themselves.
A state law provides that out-of-state companies have to provide data on sales to Colorado, which it hopes will, in turn, "motivate" residents to do their patriotic duty and submit the 2.9 percent. DMA sued in federal court, alleging a Commerce Clause violation, but the Tenth Circuit held that the federal Tax Injunction Act, which leaves state tax issues to state courts, barred federal jurisdiction.
Issue: Does the TIA bar federal court jurisdiction over a suit brought by non-taxpayers to enjoin the informational notice and reporting requirements of a state law that neither imposes a tax, nor requires the collection of a tax, but serves only as a secondary aspect of state tax administration?