The Ninth Circuit Clarifies the Standard for Establishing the Amount in Controversy for Removal Jurisdiction

In Rodriquez v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC (, the Ninth Circuit clarified the standard of proof in a contested removal.  The Ninth Circuit had previously held that in a contested removal under the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA"), the defendant bore the burden to prove to a "legal certainty" that the amount in controversy requirement of $5 million is met.  Relying on the recent Supreme Court decision of Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, the Ninth Circuit overruled its prior holding and clarified that a defendant need only establish the $5 million amount in controversy threshold by the significantly lower standard of preponderance of the evidence.  This holding should make it easier for defendants to remove class actions to federal court under CAFA.