Wylie v. Insurance Company of North America
ORDER granting 6 Motion to Remand as set forth. This matter is hereby REMANDED to the Circuit Court of Hempstead County, Arkansas for a proper adjudication of the issues in this case. Signed by Honorable Harry F. Barnes on October 18, 2011. ***Civil Case Terminated.***(mfr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CASE NO. 11-CV-4090
INSURANCE COMPANY OF
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand. (ECF No. 6). Defendant has not responded
to the motion. The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.
On August 11, 2011, Plaintiff filed this action in the Circuit Court of Hempstead County,
Arkansas. On September 16, 2011, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal in this Court based upon
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff has filed a motion to remand,
contending that federal jurisdiction is lacking because the $75,000 amount in controversy requirement
of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) has not been met.
A federal court is a court of limited jurisdiction. A case may be removed from state to federal
court if the defendant can demonstrate that the federal court has original jurisdiction over the case.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Original jurisdiction exists when the case involves a federal question or diversity
jurisdiction exists. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,1332. Diversity jurisdiction exists when the controversy is
between citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of
$75,000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). In this case, removal was based solely
upon diversity jurisdiction.
Plaintiff claims that diversity jurisdiction does not exist in this case because the amount in
controversy does not exceed $75,000. In determining whether the amount in controversy is satisfied,
the courts look to the plaintiff’s pleadings at the time of removal. See St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co.
v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 282, 292, 58 S.Ct. 586 (1938). Here, Plaintiff did not allege in his Complaint
a sum certain for damages. When it is not facially apparent from the complaint that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75,000, the federal courts may look to other sources to make this determination,
including deposition testimony, answers to interrogatories, statements by counsel, stipulations,
settlement offers and other correspondence between the parties. Radmer v. Aid Association for
Lutherans, 2000 WL 33910093 *2 (W.D. Mo. April 27, 2000). In his Motion to Remand and brief in
support, Plaintiff has stipulated that the total amount that can be recovered under the insurance policy
at issue is $13,000, exclusive of attorney’s fees and interest. (ECF No. 7). Defendant has not
presented any evidence to the contrary.1 Therefore, the Court finds that the amount in controversy in
this case does not exceed the $75,000 required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Accordingly, this Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction of this case, and it must be remanded to state court.
For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand should be and
hereby is GRANTED. This matter is hereby REMANDED to the Circuit Court of Hempstead
County, Arkansas for a proper adjudication of the issues in this case.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 18th day of October, 2011.
/s/ Harry F. Barnes
Hon. Harry F. Barnes
United States District Judge
When the plaintiff has failed to specify a total damage amount in the complaint, it is the
removing defendant’s burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in
controversy is greater than $75,000. In re Minn. Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Sales Practices Litig., 346
F.3d 830, 834 (8th Cir. 2003).
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?