Wragge et al v. The Boeing Company
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: For the reasons stated in the Opinion and Order, the Court denies Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand 16 . On or before April 14, 2021, the parties shall file a joint initial status report. A template for the Joint Initia l Status Report, setting forth the information required, may be found at http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/Judges.aspx by clicking on Judge Valderrama's name and then again on the link entitled "Joint Initial Status Report." Separately, the Court also denies Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Legal Authority 28 as moot. The Court independently considered the recent opinion issued by Judge Wood in Case No. 20-cv-04108. Signed by the Honorable Franklin U. Valderrama on 3/31/2021. Mailed notice (Attachments: # 1 Joint Status Report) (axc).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
KIERAN WRAGGE and DAVID BEARD,
Judge Franklin U. Valderrama
THE BOEING COMPANY,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs Kieran Wragge (Wragge) and David Beard (Beard) are commercial
pilots (collectively, Plaintiffs). Plaintiffs bring this personal injury lawsuit against
Defendant The Boeing Company (Boeing), alleging they became ill after being
exposed to contaminated fumes while flying a Boeing aircraft in Australia. Plaintiffs
filed suit against Boeing, the designer and manufacturer of the aircraft, in the Circuit
Court of Cook County, Illinois. Before being formally served with the summons or
complaint, Defendant removed the case to the Court, arguing that diversity
jurisdiction was proper in federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). Currently before the
Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand the case to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
R. 16, Mot. Remand. 1 For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand is
to the docket are indicated by “R.” followed by the docket number or filing name,
and where necessary, a page or paragraph citation.
Plaintiffs are citizens of Australia. R. 1-1, Compl. ¶¶ 1–2. Boeing is a Delaware
corporation with its principal place of business in Chicago, Illinois. Id. ¶ 3. Boeing is
engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing, assembling, testing, servicing,
marketing, promoting, leasing, and selling commercial aircraft as well as providing
information and warnings about such aircraft, including the aircraft at issue. Id. ¶ 5.
Boeing airplanes, other than the 787 Dreamliner, use a “bleed air” system where
outside air is pulled into the aircraft’s engines before entering the cabin. Id. ¶ 7. The
air can be contaminated by heated jet oil, hydraulic fluid, and other contaminants or
toxic by-products of such chemicals. Id. Inhaling contaminated cabin air can cause
short-term or transient symptoms as well as permanent and serious personal injury.
Id. ¶ 10.
Plaintiffs, pilots for Virgin Australia, attribute two contaminated air events on
July 28, 2018 as the source of numerous health complications. Compl. ¶¶ 19–47. The
first alleged contaminated air event was flight VA1102 from Brisbane to Newcastle
on a Boeing 737-800 NG. Id. ¶ 19. Beard was the Captain of the flight, and Wragge
was the First Officer. Id. Flight VA1102 was the first flight of the aircraft that day.
Id. After Plaintiffs started Engine 2, exhaust fumes entered the cockpit. Id. ¶ 20. The
fumes were in the flight deck and perceptible for about two minutes. Id. ¶ 22. The
second contaminated air event was the same-day return trip from Newcastle to
Brisbane on flight VA1103 using the same aircraft. Id. ¶ 25. Again, after starting
Engine 2, the Plaintiffs were subjected to additional exhaust fumes. Id. Wragge began
coughing and felt a burning sensation in his throat. Id. ¶ 29. Beard experienced a
raised heart rate and lightheadedness. Id. ¶ 31. The fumes dissipated after
approximately four to seven minutes. Id.
Exposure to the contaminated cabin air has caused Wragge to experience
short-term and long-term health effects including but not limited to migraines,
sensitivity to odors, fatigue, exhaustion, chest pain, decreased motor skills, problems
sleeping, trouble concentrating, cognitive defects, and anxiety. Compl. ¶ 44. Many of
these symptoms continued to effect Wragge two years after the events, which have
“completely derailed” Wragge’s life. Id. ¶¶ 44–45. Beard has also experienced shortterm and long-term health effects due to the contaminated air events, including
nausea, confusion, accelerated heart rate, jittery feeling, fatigue, exhaustion, and
cognitive deficits. Id. ¶ 46. Most of Beard’s symptoms were resolved a few months
after the events. Id. Plaintiffs have suffered loss of wages and wage-earning capacity
in the past and in the future. Id. ¶ 47.
On July 24, 2020, Plaintiffs filed a five-count complaint against Boeing,
alleging, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, state law causes of action
including negligence and fraud. Compl. ¶¶ 97–122. Plaintiffs do not allege an exact
or minimum damages amount in their complaint. On July 29, 2020, Boeing filed a
notice to remove this action to federal court before being served with the complaint.
R. 1, Notice of Removal ¶ 2; Mot. Remand at 1. Boeing premised removal based on
diversity jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). Notice of Removal ¶¶ 5–13.
Plaintiffs move to remand this proceeding to Illinois state court. Mot. Remand.
By statute, Congress grants federal courts jurisdiction over two types of cases:
those that “arise under” federal law, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and those where there is
diversity of citizenship and an amount-in-controversy requirement is met, id.
§ 1332(a). See Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. Jackson, 139 S. Ct. 1743, 1746 (2019).
District courts have diversity jurisdiction over all actions “where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interests and costs, and
is between . . . citizens of a State and citizens . . . of a foreign state . . . .” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). “Diversity jurisdiction’s basic rationale . . . is opening the federal courts’
doors to those who might otherwise suffer from local prejudice against out-of-state
parties.” Hertz v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 85 (2010).
Generally, a plaintiff’s choice of forum is accorded deference. Savino Del Bene,
U.S.A., Inc. v. Hartford Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., 2012 WL 3961224, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept.
7, 2012) (citing Poulos v. Naas Foods, Inc., 959 F.2d 69, 72 (7th Cir. 1992)). But where,
as here, “the plaintiff is a foreign citizen and resident . . . his choice of the United
States as a forum should be accorded less deference than if the choice is made by a
United States plaintiff.” Clerides v. Boeing Co., 534 F.3d 623, 628 (7th Cir. 2008)
(citing Sinochem Int’l Co. Ltd. v. Malaysia Int’l Shipping Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 430
A defendant may remove to federal court any action filed in state court that
could have originally been filed in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). When removal
is premised on diversity jurisdiction, though, the defendant, as the party seeking
removal, “must also clear the additional hurdle of . . . the forum defendant rule.”
Morris v. Nuzzo, 718 F.3d 660, 664–65 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal citations omitted).
“The forum-defendant rule limits the removability of diversity cases when a
defendant is a citizen of the forum.” Grandinetti v. Uber Techs., Inc., 476 F. Supp. 3d
747, 753 (N.D. Ill. 2020). The forum defendant rule provides:
A civil action otherwise removable solely on the basis of [diversity]
jurisdiction . . . may not be removed if any of the parties in interest properly
joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action
28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2).
“The forum defendant rule is designed to preserve the plaintiff’s choice of
forum, under circumstances where it is arguably less urgent to provide a federal
forum to prevent prejudice against an out-of-state party.” Morris, 718 F.3d at 665
(internal citations and quotations omitted). Put another way, “the forum defendant
rule disallows federal removal premised on diversity in cases where the primary
rationale for diversity jurisdiction—to protect defendants against presumed bias of
local courts—is not a concern because at least one defendant is a citizen of the forum
state.” Id. (internal citation omitted). “When a court evaluates a motion to remand, ‘a
plaintiff’s choice of forum is presumed valid, and the court must resolve any doubts
about jurisdiction in favor of remand.’” I.T.M. v. Midwest Can Co., LLC, 2021 WL
170734, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 19, 2021) (quoting D.C. v. Abbott Lab’ys Inc., 323 F. Supp.
3d 991, 993 (N.D. Ill. 2018)).
Plaintiffs advance two arguments in support of remand. First, they argue that
allowing Boeing’s application of the forum defendant rule encourages the practice of
“snap removal,” whereby a defendant removes a case before the plaintiff has an
opportunity to serve the defendant. Mot. Remand at 1–2. 2 Plaintiffs contend that this
practice defeats a plaintiff’s choice of forum and amounts to forum shopping,
rendering 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2) void. Id. at 2–3. Second, Plaintiffs argue that Boeing
fails to establish that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, and therefore
cannot establish diversity jurisdiction. Id. at 4–5. The Court addresses each
argument in turn.
Forum Defendant Rule
As an initial matter, it is undisputed that there is complete diversity of
citizenship in this case as Plaintiffs are citizens of Australia and Boeing is a citizen
of Illinois. Plaintiffs argue that Boeing, as a citizen of Illinois, is barred from removal
by the forum defendant rule. Mot. Remand at 2 (citing Vivas v. Boeing Co., 486 F.
Supp. 2d 726, 734 (N.D. Ill. 2007)). Not surprisingly, Boeing insists that the forumdefendant rule does not apply because it had not yet been served with the complaint.
R. 20, Resp. at 5–8 (citing Grandinetti, 476 F. Supp. 3d 747, among other cases).
Admittedly, both sides marshal persuasive case law in support of their respective
Court notes that Plaintiffs have used “1” as the page number for each page in their
motion. Accordingly, the Court refers to the CM/ECF page number for Plaintiffs’ motion.
It should go without saying that the Seventh Circuit has yet to decide the issue
raised by Plaintiffs’ motion: whether in a case premised on diversity jurisdiction, the
forum defendant rule permits pre-service removal by a defendant who is a citizen of
the forum state. In the absence of binding precedent, a divergence has emerged in
this District. 3 On one side, most courts that have addressed the issue have allowed
removal even in the face of a forum defendant, applying the “plain language”
approach. 4 See W. Bend Mut. Ins. Co. v. MSPPR, LLC, 2021 WL 463259, at *4 (N.D.
Ill. Feb. 9, 2021); I.T.M., 2021 WL 170734, at *3: Serv. Corp. Int’l v. Stericycle, Inc.,
2020 WL 6565253, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 9, 2020); Abbott Lab’ys Inc., 323 F. Supp. 3d
at 996–97; Graff v. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Inc., 299 F. Supp. 3d 928, 937 (N.D.
Ill. 2017); Selective Ins. Co. of S.C. v. Target Corp., 2013 WL 12205696, at *1 (N.D.
Ill. Dec. 13, 2013); Maple Leaf Bakery v. Raychem Corp., 1999 WL 1101326, at *2
(N.D. Ill. Nov. 29, 1999).
On the other side of the ledger are courts who have found that allowing removal
by an at-home defendant defeats the purpose of the statute, known as the “purpose
approach.” See Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA v. The Boeing Co., 2021 WL 1192574, at
issue presented by Plaintiffs’ motion has not only divided courts in the Northern District
of Illinois, but it has also divided courts outside the Seventh Circuit. Compare Tex. Brine Co.,
L.L.C. v. Am. Arb. Ass’n, Inc., 955 F.3d 482, 487 (5th Cir. 2020); Gibbons v. Bristol-Myers
Squibb Co., 919 F.3d 699, 707 (2d Cir. 2019); Encompass Ins. Co. v. Stone Mansion Rest. Inc.,
902 F.3d 147, 154 (3d Cir. 2018) (all finding literal interpretation of statue not inconsistent
with Congressional intent) with Goodwin v. Reynolds, 757 F.3d 1216, 1221 (11th Cir. 2014)
(pre-service removal by forum defendant at odds with legislative intent).
addition to courts within this District, a recent Southern District of Illinois court recently
weighed in and followed the plain language approach and allowed application of the forum
defendant rule. Knightsbridge Mgmt., Inc. T/A Knightsbridge Rest. Grp. v. Zurich Am. Ins.
Co., 2021 WL 508687, at *4 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 11, 2021).
*5 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2021); Kern v. Krso, 2020 WL 3960509, at *4 (N.D. Ill. July 13,
2020); In re Testosterone Replacement Therapy Prod. Liab. Litig., 67 F. Supp. 3d 952,
962 (N.D. Ill. 2014); Grimard v. Montreal, Maine & Atl. Ry., Inc., 2013 WL 4777849,
at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 5, 2013); Vivas, 486 F. Supp. 2d at 734–35.
The Court begins its analysis, where it must, with the text of the statute. As a
general rule, a court presumes that the language of a statute manifests Congressional
intent. Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 557 U.S. 167, 175 (2009). It is a fundamental
rule of statutory construction that where the language of the statute is plain and
unambiguous, courts must give effect to the clear meaning of the statute as written.
Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 137 S. Ct. 1002, 1010 (2017) As the
Supreme Court has instructed, “when the meaning of a statute’s terms is plain,” a
court’s job ends. Bostock v. Clayton Cty., 140 S. Ct. 1731, 1749 (2020); United States
v. Melvin, 948 F.3d 848, 852 (7th Cir. 2020) (“If the statutory language’s plain
meaning is unambiguous, [the Court’s] inquiry ends there.”). Plaintiffs do not argue
that the forum defendant rule is ambiguous. No matter, because there is no question
that the text of Section 1442(b)(2) is unambiguous: only a “properly joined and served”
forum defendant is prohibited from removing an action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2)
(emphasis added). Plaintiffs do not argue that Boeing had been served when it
removed the case to federal court. Thus, under the plain text of Section 1442(b)(2),
removal was proper.
Since the Court finds the statute unambiguous, it must apply Section
1442(b)(2) as written, unless to do so would “frustrate the overall purpose of the
statutory scheme, lead to absurd results, or contravene clearly expressed legislative
intent.” Jefferson v. U.S., 546 F.3d 477, 483 (7th Cir. 2008) (internal citation omitted).
Plaintiffs argue that applying the plain meaning of the statute would eliminate the
forum defendant rule, frustrates public policy, and endorses forum shopping. Mot.
Remand at 3. Boeing counters that applying the plain language is not inconsistent
with the Congressional purpose for the forum defendant rule—which specifically was
to prevent fraudulent joinder—and note that Plaintiffs offer no evidence to support
their contention. Resp. at 8. Plaintiffs did not file a reply in support of their Motion
to Remand, noting in a later submission to the Court that the issues “have been fully
addressed.” R. 21. Based on the Court’s review of the parties’ filings, as well as its
own review of the statute and case law, it agrees with Boeing.
None of the exceptions to a plain-text interpretation apply here. Plaintiffs do
not make an absurdity argument, and therefore have waived it. See G & S Holdings
LLC v. Cont’l Cas. Co., 697 F.3d 534, 538 (7th Cir. 2012) (“[A] party waives an
argument by failing to make it before the district court.”). Even so, the Court holds
that a literal interpretation of the statutory text does not lead to absurd results.
“[A]bsurdity is not mere oddity. The absurdity bar is high, as it should be. The result
must be preposterous, one that no reasonable person could intend.” Tex. Brine Co.,
L.L.C. v. Am. Arb. Ass’n, Inc., 955 F.3d 482, 486 (5th Cir. 2020) (internal citations
and quotations omitted).
The Court, like other courts in this District, finds that allowing snap removal
does not frustrate the overall purpose of the statutory scheme or contravene Congress’
intent in creating the forum defendant rule. Even though the plain language
approach results in a few instances that would result in removal by a forum
defendant, the Court cannot say that these instances somehow render the forum
defendant rule void, as Plaintiffs suggest. See W. Bend Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 WL
463259, at *3 (“Snap removals narrow the scope of the forum defendant rule and
defeat its applications in many cases, but they are confined to scenarios where the
defendant has not been served. Accordingly, the forum defendant rule is not vitiated
entirely.”) Other courts in this District have announced well-reasoned principles
regarding the overall purpose of the statutory scheme and Congressional intent that
the Court finds persuasive, and which the Court considers together.
If the primary purpose of diversity jurisdiction is to “prevent local
prejudice, . . . [a]llowing snap removal does not encourage local prejudice.” W. Bend
Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 463259, at *3 (also finding that if snap removal disturbs a
plaintiff’s choice of forum, “because the concept of diversity jurisdiction itself limits
plaintiffs’ ability to choose the forum when the parties are diverse, that objection is
of marginal effect.”); see also Grandinetti, 476 F. Supp. 3d at 755 (finding that snap
removal’s undermining of a plaintiff’s choice of forum “is not the same as undermining
the forum-defendant rule specifically or the statutory framework for federal
The Court also cannot rewrite the forum defendant rule. In Grandinetti, the
court noted that:
enforcing the text as-is does not so intensely undermine the statute’s purpose
that a federal court should rewrite the plain text. Indeed, the plain meaning of
the removal statute governs because federal courts must assume that the
ordinary meaning . . . accurately expresses the legislative purpose. This is just
as true for the “properly joined and served” language as it is for the rest of the
476 F. Supp. 3d at 755 (internal citations and quotations omitted). Congress included
the phrase “properly joined and served” to use a bright-line rule to address a
plaintiff’s attempt at fraudulent joinder. W. Bend Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 463259, at
*3. Yet, if the purpose of the forum defendant rule is to prevent fraudulent joinder—
“suing either a nondiverse defendant or a forum defendant just to make sure that the
case stays in state court”—“nothing about allowing an unserved forum defendant to
avoid the forum-defendant rule would frustrate that purpose.” Grandinetti, 476 F.
Supp. 3d at 755. Moreover, the fraudulent joinder rationale has no bearing here
because Boeing is the only defendant.
Clearly, if Congress was of the mind that it needed to amend the forum
defendant rule because courts interpreting the statute had thwarted Congressional
intent by allowing an unserved forum defendant to remand a case from a state court,
it knows how to do so. But that is for Congress, not this Court, to do. See Serv. Corp.
Int’l., 2020 WL 6565253, at *4 (“Should Congress determine that removal where an
in-forum defendant has not been served constitutes an abuse of the judicial system,
Congress will rewrite the statute.”).
This is not to suggest that Plaintiffs do not have a point. Other courts have
noted the frustrating realities of this application. See Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA,
2021 WL 1192574, at *5 (“[T]he snap-removal loophole essentially writes the forumdefendant rule out of existence for any defendants with the resources and
wherewithal to monitor exhaustively local court filings.”); see also In re Testosterone
Replacement Therapy Prod. Liab. Litig., 67 F. Supp. 3d at 961–62. Plaintiffs argue
that if Boeing is allowed to escape the forum defendant rule through snap removals,
it will lead “sophisticated defendants who manufacture dangerous products” to
believe that they can “escape liability through procedural abuse of process” and will
be unlikely to fix the problem. Mot. Remand at 3. Again, though, it is not as if allowing
forum defendants to remove diversity cases deprives plaintiffs of a forum to hold
defendants accountable for allegedly dangerous processes. While Plaintiffs’ choice of
forum may be slightly undermined, the Court must adhere to well-settled principles
of statutory interpretation in the context of the forum defendant rule itself. Therefore,
the Court is required to interpret the statute as it is written, having concluded that
such an interpretation is not absurd, does not frustrate the overall purpose of the
statutory scheme, and does not contravene Congress’ intent.
Amount in Controversy
Next, Plaintiffs argue that the Court should remand the case because Boeing
cannot prove that Plaintiffs’ damages meet the statutory threshold. Mot. Remand at
4–5. As the removing party, Boeing has the initial burden of establishing the
jurisdictional minimum by a preponderance of the evidence. See Carroll v. Stryker
Corp., 658 F.3d 675, 680–81 (7th Cir. 2011). This burden “is a pleading requirement,
not a demand for proof.” Spivey v. Vertrue, Inc., 528 F.3d 982, 986 (7th Cir. 2008).
However, Boeing “must do more than point to the theoretical availability of certain
categories of damages.” McMillian v. Sheraton Chi. Hotel & Towers, 567 F.3d 839,
844 (7th Cir. 2009) (internal citations and quotations omitted). Typically, the starting
point in determining the amount in controversy is the complaint. Chase v. Shop ’N
Save Warehouse Foods, Inc., 110 F.3d 424, 427 (7th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiffs point out that their complaint does not allege that their damages
exceed $75,000, and contend that the only evidence of the amount of damages suffered
by each Plaintiff is Boeing’s speculation, which focuses on Wragge’s injuries. Mot.
Remand at 5. Boeing counters that, contrary to Plaintiffs’ suggestion, its Notice of
Removal plausibly asserts that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 not on its
own speculation, but instead based on the injuries alleged in Plaintiffs’ complaint.
Resp. at 13. Allegations of serious permanent injuries and significant medical
expenses, asserts Boeing, are sufficient to satisfy the amount in controversy
requirement. Resp. at 12 (citing McCoy by Webb v. Gen. Motors Corp., 226 F. Supp.
2d 939, 941 (N.D. Ill. 2002); Majchrzak v. Gap, Inc., 2018 WL 2220292, at *3 (N.D.
Ill. May 15, 2018)).
Here, Plaintiffs allege that Wragge “suffered short-term and long-term health
effects including . . . lung damage/scarring . . . cognitive defects . . . mental anguish . . .
many of which still plague him . . . two years after the event,” and that Wragge was
unable to return to work two years later. Compl. ¶¶ 44–45. Plaintiffs also allege that
Beard suffered “short-term and long-term health effects,” although most of his
symptoms resolved within a few months. Id. ¶ 46. Both Plaintiffs claim that Boeing
caused Plaintiffs “short term and long term health problems and injuries including
pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, physical impairment, loss of
normal enjoyment of life, medical bills and expenses as well as loss of wage earning
capacity, in the past as well as reasonably anticipated in the future.” Id. ¶ 122. Such
allegations, particularly those relating to Wragge, make it more than likely that the
amount in controversy exceeds the $75,000 threshold for diversity jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs’ allegations mirror those in Majchrzak, which the court found to be
sufficient to support the amount in controversy for diversity jurisdiction. 2018 WL
2220292, at *3 (allegations that plaintiff “‘suffered severe and permanent injuries;
has incurred and will incur substantial medical, hospital and therapy bills; has
experienced and will in the future experience untold suffering[;] and has been
deprived of the ability and capacity to attend most social and personal activities,’
make it more likely than not that the amount in controversy exceeds the required
minimum for diversity jurisdiction”); see also McCoy by Webb, 226 F. Supp. 2d at 941
(noting that it was “obvious from a common-sense reading of the complaint that
Plaintiffs were seeking in excess of $75,000 in damages” where “Plaintiffs alleged
that they suffered ‘lasting and permanent injuries’ and incurred bills related to
‘medical, surgical, hospital, and nursing care for their injuries’ as well as ‘[lost] wages
and profits which they otherwise would have earned and acquired’”). As Boeing points
out, not only does Wragge claim serious medical issues, but also lost pay and future
income from his position as a commercial pilot for Virgin Australia Airlines. Resp. at
13. Without knowing Plaintiffs’ exact salaries, claims for lost wages and future
income, together with permanent injuries and significant medical expenses, “should
sound warning bells in defendants’ ears that significant damages are sought.” See
McCoy by Webb, 226 F. Supp. 2d at 941; see also Congdon v. Cheapcaribbean.com,
Inc., 2017 WL 5069960, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 3, 2017) (“Plaintiffs’ complaint explicitly
requests damages for current and future ‘pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement,
loss of income, loss of a normal life, and medical expenses’ as well as ‘lost wages.’ Such
damages could easily exceed $75,000.”).
Plaintiffs argue that “Beard does not even allege that he suffered permanent
injury” and Boeing “cannot establish that either of the Plaintiffs’ injuries each
exceeded $75,000.” Mot. Remand at 5. True, Beard alleges less severe and more shortterm injuries than Wragge, but as indicated above, the complaint still alleges that he
suffered serious injuries, emotional distress, and lost wages, together which are likely
sufficient to satisfy the amount in controversy by a preponderance of the evidence.
See, e.g., Majchrzak, 2018 WL 2220292, at *3. Still, the Court need not definitively
decide, as Boeing again is correct that the allegations about Wragge’s more severe
injuries and lost wages alone are sufficient to show by a preponderance that the
amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional minimum for diversity jurisdiction.
Resp. at 13 (citing Exxon Mobil v. Allapattah, 545 U.S. 546, 558–60 (2005) (holding
that it is sufficient for a district court to exercise diversity jurisdiction if at least one
claim satisfies the amount in controversy requirement, even if others do not)).
“[O]nce Defendants satisfy their initial burden that the amount in controversy
exceeds the threshold by a preponderance of the evidence, Plaintiffs can counter that
[their] claims are below the jurisdictional amount as a legal certainty.” Majchrzak,
2018 WL 2220292, at *4. Plaintiffs do not even attempt to do so here. Therefore, the
Court finds that Boeing has met its burden of establishing that the amount in
controversy meets the jurisdictional minimum, and as such, this Court has diversity
jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court denies Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand .
On or before April 14, 2021, the parties shall file a joint initial status report. A
template for the Joint Initial Status Report, setting forth the information required,
may be found at http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/Judges.aspx by clicking on Judge
Valderrama's name and then again on the link entitled “Joint Initial Status Report.”
Dated: March 31, 2021
United States District Judge
Franklin U. Valderrama
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