United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JEFFREY P. BURCHAM, Plaintiff
FORD MOTOR CREDIT COMPANY LLC, Defendant.
R. HERNDON JUDGE.
defendant, Ford Motor Credit Company LLC (“Ford
Credit”), removed this case to federal court under the
Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”).
Presently before the Court is plaintiff Jeffrey P.
Burcham's (“Burcham”) motion for remand to
state court (Doc. 16). Ford Credit has responded in
opposition (Doc. 22). Based on the record and the following,
the motion is DENIED.
the second iteration of a putative class action brought by
Burcham against Ford Credit. Burcham voluntarily dismissed
the previous action (3:15-cv-00509-DRH) after Ford Credit
filed its response opposing his motion to remand to state
court. In the instant action, Burcham asserts the same claims
and seeks certification of the same class as in the
previously filed action. Specifically, Burcham asserts that
[“Ford Credit] fail[s] to release security interests on
vehicles within the time limits of 625 ILCS 5/3-205.”
(Doc. 1-2 ¶ 1). Burcham seeks certification of the
All citizens, who from five years preceding the filing of
this case until final judgment, were not given a timely
security interest release as required by 625 ILCS 5/3-205,
within the time limits of 625 ILCS 5/3-205.
(Doc. 1-2 ¶ 14). Burcham demands $150 per class member,
plus actual damages and attorneys' fees (Doc. 1-2 ¶
12, “Wherefore” clause). Burcham also contends
the putative class includes “less than thirty thousand
people.” (Doc. 1-2 ¶ 15).
only jurisdictional matter in dispute is whether the amount
in controversy is met. Ford Credit characterizes
Burcham's cap on class membership as
“arbitrary” (Doc. 1 ¶ 18). Burcham contends
his cap of 30, 000 should be used to establish the amount in
controversy because it is a good faith estimate premised on
counsel's independent research. Specifically,
Burcham's counsel indicates he conducted a search of the
small claims dockets in 11 of Illinois's 102 counties.
Counsel further states that his research revealed from 1991
to present day (in the 11 counties searched) Ford Credit was
named as a small claims defendant in 10 cases.
credit has presented evidence, based on its business records,
showing that more than 160, 000 accounts meet the following
The customer was an Illinois resident at the time of
contracting for the purchase of a vehicle; the contract was
entered into in Illinois; and the customer's most recent
address is in Illinois, so the vehicle would be titled in
The account was paid off on or after July 13, 2011,
i.e., within five years before the complaint was
(Doc. 1 ¶ 15, Doc. 22-1). Based on the above and
Burcham's demand of $150 per class member, Ford Credit
asserts the amount in controversy is approximately $24, 000,
CAFA, federal courts have jurisdiction in diversity over
class actions and putative class actions involving one
hundred or more class members in which any member of the
plaintiff class is a citizen of a state different from that
of any defendant, and in which, after aggregating all claims
of class members, an amount in excess of $5 million,
exclusive of interest and costs, is in controversy.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(1)(B), (d)(2)(A),
(d)(5)(B), (d)(6), (d)(8); Hart v. FedEx ...