Hayes Hill Baptist Church et al v. Stonington Insurance Company

Filing 32

OPINION AND ORDER that it is the ORDER, JUDGMENT and DECREE of the court that plf's 19 motion to remand is granted and that, pursuant to 28 USC 1447(c), this cause is remanded to the Circuit Court of Bullock County, Alabama for want of subject matter jurisdiction; further ORDERING that all other pending motions are left for resolution by the state court after remand; directing the clerk to take appropriate steps to effect the remand. Signed by Honorable Myron H. Thompson on 4/13/10. (Attachments: # 1 civil appeals checklist). Certified copy mailed to Clerk, Circuit Court Bullock County.(djy, )

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IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION HAYES HILL BAPTIST CHURCH, BRENDA HILL, individually and d/b/a Turner's ABC Learning Center, Plaintiffs, v. STONINGTON INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:10cv135-MHT (WO) OPINION AND ORDER Now before the court is plaintiff's motion to remand this lawsuit back to state court. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit against defendant Stonington Insurance Company in state court, charging Stonington claim. with a bad-faith failure to pay an insurance Stonington then removed this lawsuit to this court based on diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. 1332, 1441. "Where a plaintiff fails to specify the total amount of damages demanded, as is the case here, a defendant seeking removal based on diversity jurisdiction must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the $ 75,000 jurisdictional requirement." Burns v. Windsor Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1092, "[T]he removal-remand scheme 1097 n.13 (11th Cir. 1994). set forth in 28 U.S.C. 1446(b) and 1447(c) requires that a court review the propriety of removal on the basis of the removing documents." 483 F.3d 1184, 1211 (11th Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., Cir. 2007). "If the jurisdictional amount is either stated clearly on the face of the documents before the court, or readily If deducible from them, then the court has jurisdiction. not, the court must remand." Id. "If that evidence is insufficient to establish that removal was proper or that jurisdiction was present, neither the defendants nor the court may speculate in an attempt to make up for the notice's failings." Id. at 1214-1215. 2 Because the jurisdictional amount is not stated clearly on the face of the documents before the court, nor readily deducible from them, the court is without jurisdiction and must remand. (Moreover, even if the court were to go outside the removing documents, see Lowery, 483 F.3d at 1213-1214 n. 64, the result would be the same.) Accordingly, it is the ORDER, JUDGMENT, and DECREE of the court that plaintiff's motion to remand (Doc. No. 19) is granted and that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1447(c), this cause is remanded to the Circuit Court of Bullock County, Alabama, for want of subject-matter jurisdiction. It is further ORDERED that all other pending motions are left for resolution by the state court after remand. The clerk of the court is DIRECTED to take appropriate steps to effect the remand. DONE, this the 13th day of April, 2010. /s/ Myron H. Thompson UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

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