Doctor John Doe et al v. Google Inc
NOTICE of Removal from Circuit Court of Cook County, case number (2011 L 9024) filed by Google Inc Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 0752-6535723. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Lambert, Jade)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION
DOCTOR JOHN DOE, DOCTOR JOHN DOE,
INCORPORATED, an Illinois Corporation, and
JANE DOE, Individually and as an Employee
of the Other Plaintiffs,
GOOGLE INC., a Delaware Corporation,
NOTICE OF REMOVAL
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that Defendant Google Inc., by and through its undersigned
counsel, and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, and 1446, hereby removes the abovecaptioned action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from the
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois on August 30,
2011. On October 4, 2011, Google received a Summons and copy of Plaintiffs’ Complaint.
True and correct copies of the summons and Complaint are attached hereto as Exhibit A.1 To
date, no other process, pleadings, or orders related to this action have been filed or entered.
Google will be filing a responsive pleading to Plaintiffs’ Complaint in this Court pursuant to
Federal Rule 81(c)(2).
The Complaint refers to an appendix filed under seal. The appendix has not been filed with this
Notice of Removal because Google has not been able to obtain a copy of it.
GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL
Plaintiffs’ Complaint alleges that various statements relating to Plaintiffs, which are
displayed on the Internet via Google products and services, are false and defamatory. This
action is removable on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441(a). A
defendant may remove any civil action brought in a state court for which the District Courts of
the United States have original jurisdiction to the federal district court encompassing the county
in which such action is pending. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332, this
Court has original jurisdiction over this action by reason of diversity of citizenship and an
amount in controversy which exceeds the sum or value of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars
($75,000), exclusive of interest and costs.
Complete Diversity of Citizenship
Although the Plaintiffs are suing anonymously, they appear to be citizens of the State of
Illinois. Compl. at ¶ 5-6. Specifically, the individual plaintiffs, Dr. Doe and Jane Doe, “are duly
licensed medical professionals who practice their business within the State of Illinois.” Compl.
at ¶ 5. Plaintiff Dr. Doe, Inc. is “licensed to do business in and has its principal place of business
within the State of Illinois.” Compl. at ¶ 5. Plaintiffs “care for patients at their facility located
within the State of Illinois.” Compl. at ¶ 6.
Google is, and was at the time this lawsuit was filed, a corporation organized under the
laws of the State of Delaware with its principal place of business in California. Complaint at ¶ 4.
And, there is nothing in the Complaint that would suggest that Plaintiffs are citizens of Delaware
or California. Accordingly, there is complete diversity among the parties.
Amount in Controversy
It is apparent from the face of the Complaint that Plaintiffs seek recovery of an amount in
excess of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs. Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that Plaintiffs
provide medical treatment and perform surgeries for patients in Illinois, and that Google websites
contain libelous statements about the quality of Plaintiffs’ care and services. Compl. at ¶¶ 6, 12.
Plaintiffs allege that they have suffered substantial damages as a result of these allegedly libelous
statements, “having lost income as a result and having suffered embarrassment, emotional
distress, and having sustained a general loss of reputation in their business and professional life
as a result of this libelous conduct.” Compl. at ¶¶ 18, 25; see also Compl. at ¶¶ 30 (“Plaintiffs
suffered a loss of a contractual relationship with existing patients”); and 31 (“Plaintiffs were
damaged through loss of income and reputation”).
Significantly, Plaintiffs’ prayers for relief seek damages in excess of the jurisdictional
amount. Plaintiffs ask for compensatory damages in excess of the minimum amount necessary
to bring a cause of action in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which is
$50,000, and they also seek punitive damages in excess of $50 million. See Loss v. Blankenship,
673 F.2d 942, 951 (7th Cir. 1982) (noting that punitive damages are properly considered in
determining whether the jurisdictional minimum is met); Bell v. Preferred Life Assur. Soc., 320
U.S. 238, 240 (1943) (same).
Illinois district courts have found that the amount in controversy requirement was met
where plaintiffs alleged lost income and reputational harm exceeding $50,000. See, e.g. Martin
v. Beck, No. 07 C 3154, 2007 WL 2122184, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 19, 2007) (concluding that
amount in controversy requirement was satisfied where defamation plaintiff sought at least
$50,000 in damages and identified himself as public figure who had spent years developing and
protecting his reputation, which he alleged was damaged); Good v. Maxim Healthcare Servs.,
Inc., No. 09-0146-DRH, 2009 WL 1025086, at *3 (S.D. Ill. Apr. 16, 2009) (concluding that
amount in controversy requirement was met where the plaintiff sought compensatory damages in
excess of $50,000 as well as punitive damages, alleging a loss of wages, benefits, and bonuses as
well as embarrassment, humiliation, distress and loss of reputation and standing in the
community resulting from a wrongful discharge). Plaintiffs’ allegations in this case are similar
to the allegations made in the Martin and Good cases. In short, both the face of the complaint
and relevant decisions from this Court support a finding that the amount in controversy exceeds
DEFENDANTS HAVE SATISFIED THE PROCEDURAL
REQUIREMENTS FOR REMOVAL
This Notice of Removal is timely if filed within 30 days of service of Plaintiffs’
Complaint, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). Google was served on October 4, 2011, so this
Notice of Removal is timely if filed on or before November 3, 2011. Because there are no other
named defendants, no consent to removal is required.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois embraces Cook
County, the county in which the state court action is now pending. Therefore, this action is
properly removed to the Northern District of Illinois pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
The only process or pleading that Google has served or received in the state court
proceeding is Plaintiffs’ Complaint. A true and correct copy of the Complaint is attached hereto
as Exhibit A, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). Google will file copies of additional state court
records and proceedings, if any, within 10 days of receiving them.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(d), Google will promptly file written notice of this removal
and a copy of the Notice of Removal with the clerk of the state court in which this action is
currently pending and will serve a copy of this notice on all parties to the removed action.
By filing this Notice of Removal, Google not waive, and hereby reserve, any right to
assert objections and defenses to Plaintiffs’ Complaint.
WHEREFORE, Defendant Google Inc. removes this action from the Circuit Court of
Cook County, Illinois bearing Case No. 2011 L 009024 to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332, 1441, and 1446.
DATED: November 3, 2011
By: /s/ Jade R. Lambert
One of the attorneys for Google Inc.
Jade R. Lambert (No. 6290000)
PERKINS COIE LLP
131 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60603-5559
Tel: (312) 324-8400
Fax: (312) 324-9400
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned, an attorney, certifies that on November 3, 2011, she caused the
foregoing NOTICE OF REMOVAL to be served upon the individuals listed below via U.S.
David A. Novoselsky
Novoselsky Law Offices
120 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
By: /s/ Jade R. Lambert