IGLINSKI v. Electric Insurance Company
ORDER: The Clerk is directed to remand this case to state court because the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. After remand, the Clerk shall close this case. Signed by Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington on 6/4/2021. (AR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 8:21-cv-1304-VMC-JSS
ELECTRIC INSURANCE COMPANY,
This cause comes before the Court sua sponte. For the
reasons set forth below, this case is remanded to state court
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
jurisdiction.” Morrison v. Allstate Indem. Co., 228 F.3d
1255, 1260-61 (11th Cir. 2000). As such, “[a] federal court
not only has the power but also the obligation at any time to
jurisdiction does not exist arises.” Fitzgerald v. Seaboard
Sys. R.R., Inc., 760 F.2d 1249, 1251 (11th Cir. 1985).
Plaintiff Tara Iglinski initiated this personal injury
action in state court on April 27, 2021. (Doc. # 1-1 at 3).
Thereafter, on May 28, 2021, Defendant Electric Insurance
Company removed the case to this Court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 4).
things, that “the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or
value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.” If “the
complaint, the court should look to the notice of removal and
may require evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at
the time the case was removed.” Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269
establishing the jurisdictional amount by a preponderance of
the evidence.” Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., 483 F.3d 1184, 1208
(11th Cir. 2007).
Here, the complaint does not state a specified damage
claim. (Doc. # 1-1 at ¶ 1 (“This is an action for damages
($30,000.00), exclusive of costs, interest and attorney’s
Insurance relied upon Iglinski’s demand of $500,000 and her
past and estimated future medical expenses. (Doc. # 1 at ¶¶
8-10). The notice of removal indicated Iglinski had past
“medical bills of over $32,000 as of April 2021 which likely
increased” and that her “treating doctor . . . opined her
future medical care would cost $158,064.00.” (Id. at ¶ 9).
Upon review of Electric Insurance’s notice of removal,
the Court determined that Electric Insurance had “provide[d]
no concrete facts supporting the contention that Iglinski’s
damages exceed $75,000 other than the past medical bills ‘of
over $32,000.’” (Doc. # 4). The Court then gave Electric
Insurance the opportunity to provide additional information
to establish the amount in controversy. (Id.).
Electric Insurance has now responded to the Court’s
jurisdiction. (Doc. # 5). But Electric Insurance still fails
to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in
Insurance reiterates its position that Iglinski’s demand of
$500,000, combined with her past and future medical expenses,
establishes that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
(Id. at 3). Electric Insurance supplements its notice of
removal with additional estimated future medical expenses:
Plaintiff has also undergone evaluation by Dr.
Anand Gandhi, who has produced a report indicating
$170,093,00, based upon analysis of CPT code
billing costs, comprised of $77,104.00 in future
diagnostic imaging costs; $91,770.00 in physical
* * *
Plaintiff has also undergone evaluation by Dr.
Randal Butch, D.C. who has also produced a report
indicating Plaintiff’s future medical needs will
cost $370.00 per month for medical and therapy
office visits for her remaining 35.6-year lifespan,
(Id.; Doc. # 5-7; Doc. # 5-8). And, Electric Insurance cites
to Iglinski’s civil remedy notice, which “set[s] forth her
calculations as to non-economic damages . . . for past pain
and suffering of $70,560.00; and future pain and suffering of
$2,046,336.00.” (Doc. # 5 at 4; Doc. # 5-6).
However, demand letters do not automatically establish
the amount in controversy. See Lamb v. State Farm Fire Mut.
Auto. Ins. Co., No. 3:10-cv-615-TJC-JRK, 2010 WL 6790539, at
*2 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 5, 2010) (explaining that demand letters
and settlement offers “do not automatically establish the
jurisdiction”); Piazza v. Ambassador II JV, L.P., No. 8:10cv-1582-SDM-EAJ, 2010 WL 2889218, at *1 (M.D. Fla. July 21,
2010) (same). Neither do civil remedy notices. See Green v.
4947499, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 18, 2011) (“Civil Remedy
Notices say nothing about the amount in controversy. They are
precursors to bad-faith-failure-to-settle claims that may be
brought against an insurer in the future.”).
Iglinski’s medical providers’ opinions that she may need
$91,770.00, $1,219, and $158,064.00 for various treatments,
the mere possibility of future medical care is too speculative
to support such a finding. See Favors v. Dolgencorp, LLC, No.
14-cv-60267-KMM, 2014 WL 11775522, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 3,
future medical expenses ranging from $114,000 to $154,000,
the Court finds these estimates to be too speculative to
establish the amount in controversy by a preponderance of the
evidence.”); Pennington v. Covidien LP, No. 8:19-cv-273-VMCAAS, 2019 WL 479473, at *1-2 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 7, 2019) (finding
the cost of a $110,000 surgery too speculative as it had not
yet been scheduled); Jenkins v. Meyers, No. 8:16-cv-344-EAKEAJ, 2016 WL 4059249, at *4 (M.D. Fla. July 27, 2016) (“[A]ny
determination as to the long term costs resulting from the
neck pain cannot be done with any certainty.”).
sufficient detail about Iglinski’s pain and suffering or the
other unspecified damages she has allegedly experienced. See
Nelson v. Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc., No. 8:16-cv-869-SCBJSS, 2015 WL 12259228, at *3-4 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 31, 2015)
(“[T]he Court will not engage in speculation regarding the
value of [the plaintiff’s] pain and suffering damages.”).
Thus, these categories of damages remain too speculative
to include in the amount in controversy calculation and do
not support the contention that Iglinski’s demand was more
Dollar, No. 8:17-cv-1340-VMC-JSS, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88594
(M.D. Fla. June 9, 2017) (remanding the case to state court
where the amount in controversy was based on hypothetical
settlement offers were negotiation tactics).
In short, Electric Insurance has failed to persuade the
Court that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. The
only concrete damages in this case fall below $33,000 and
carried its burden of establishing this Court’s diversity
jurisdiction. The Court, finding that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, remands this case to state court.
Accordingly, it is now
ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED:
The Clerk is directed to REMAND this case to state court
because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. After
remand, the Clerk shall CLOSE this case.
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers in Tampa, Florida, this 4th
day of June, 2021.
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