Steen et al v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
ORDER denying 16 Amended Motion to Remand; finding as moot 6 Motion to Remand. Signed by District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr on 11/9/17 (Whitsitt, K)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
MATTHEW STEEN and DAVID LOWRY
CAUSE NO. 1:17CV158-LG-RHW
MERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DENYING MOTIONS TO REMAND
BEFORE THE COURT is the  Plaintiffs’ Amended Motion to Remand.
Defendant Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, filed a response, but the plaintiffs did not
reply. After due consideration of the submissions, the record in this case, and the
relevant law, it is the Court’s opinion that it has jurisdiction of this case.
Accordingly, the Amended Motion to Remand will be denied. The original 
Motion to Remand is moot.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial
District of Harrison County, Mississippi, alleging that they leased a defective 2017
Mercedes Benz GLS450, manufactured by Defendant Mercedes-Benz USA.
Plaintiffs allege that after they took possession of the GLS450 they experienced
defects with the engine and electrical system. As a result of these defects, the
GLS450 would not start, and the check engine light would illuminate. Plaintiffs
allege that Mercedes failed to repair the GLS450 after multiple attempts, thus
causing Mercedes’ warranties to fail. Plaintiffs further allege that they have been
and will continue to be financially damaged due to Mercedes’ failure to comply with
Plaintiffs assert the following claims against Mercedes: breach of written
warranty pursuant to the Federal Magnuson- Moss Warranty Act, breach of implied
warranty pursuant to that Act, and a state law claim for violation of the Mississippi
Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act. Mercedes removed the case to this Court,
asserting that this Court has federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction
over Plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand arguing that the amount
in controversy requirement is not satisfied for diversity jurisdiction or federal
question jurisdiction. The Court reviewed the briefs and determined that there was
insufficient information to make a decision regarding the amount in controversy.
(See Order For Remand-Related Discovery 5, 6, ECF No. 11). The parties were
instructed to conduct limited discovery to answer the amount in controversy
question. (Id. at 6, 7). After completing the limited discovery, the plaintiffs filed
this Amended Motion to Remand.
Plaintiffs argue in their Amended Motion to Remand that their interrogatory
responses establish that the value of their Magnusson-Moss claims are below the
$50,000 jurisdictional threshold for those claims. In its response, Mercedes does not
contest the plaintiffs’ valuation of the Magnusson-Moss claims, and the Court
agrees that diversity jurisdiction cannot be premised on the Magnusson-Moss
claims because the amount in controversy requirement is not met. See 15 U.S.C. §
Mercedes argues, however, that the plaintiffs’ state law claim exceeds the
$75,000 diversity jurisdiction threshold in 28 U.S.C. § 1332, particularly when
attorneys’ fees are included. Accordingly, Mercedes contends that its removal of
this case was proper, as the Court has jurisdiction of the state law claim and may
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the Magnusson-Moss claims.
Plaintiffs’ state law claim is under the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Warranty
Act, Miss. Code Ann. § 63-17-151, et seq. The purpose of the Act is “to provide the
statutory procedures whereby a consumer may receive a replacement motor vehicle,
or a full refund, for a motor vehicle which cannot be brought into conformity with
the express warranty issued by the manufacturer.” Miss. Code Ann. § 63-17-153.
the manufacturer shall give the consumer the option of having the
manufacturer either replace the motor vehicle with a comparable
motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer, or take title of the vehicle
from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase price,
including all reasonably incurred collateral charges, less a reasonable
allowance for the consumer’s use of the vehicle.
Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-17-159(1). Additionally, the Act allows for recovery of costs
and attorneys’ fees.
If a consumer finally prevails in any action brought under Sections
63-17-151 et seq., the court may allow him to recover as part of the
judgment a sum equal to the aggregate amount of costs and expenses,
including attorney’s fees based on actual time expended, determined
by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the plaintiff for or in
connection with the commencement and prosecution of such action.
Miss. Code. Ann. § 63-17-159(7).
Although the plaintiffs’ pleadings are not very clear, it appears that they seek
1) refund of the amount they have paid for the vehicle ($53,431); or 2) a replacement
vehicle with a value of $57,000. (Compl. 8, ECF No. 16-1; Am. Mot. Remand 9, ECF
No. 16). In addition, they seek “all incidental and consequential damages incurred”
and “all reasonable attorneys’ fees, witness fees, court costs and other fees
incurred.” (Compl. 8, ECF No. 16-1). Plaintiffs set out a total amount of $15,000 in
various categories of incidental and consequential damages. (Def. Resp. Ex. A 1-2,
ECF No. 17-1). Mercedes must therefore show that it is likely that there will be
more than $6569 in attorneys fees incurred to meet the jurisdictional minimum.1 In
order to meet its burden, Mercedes points to 1) the plaintiffs’ answer to an
interrogatory stating that they would seek “[a]ll statutory damages pursuant to the
Mississippi Motor Vehicle Warranty Act claim (‘Lemon Law[ ]’),” and 2) the
plaintiffs’ refusal to agree that they will not accept more than $75,000 in damages,
including attorney’s fees. (Def. Resp. Ex. A 2, ECF No. 17-1; Ex. B, ECF No. 17-2).
As the Court stated in its earlier order, a plaintiff’s refusal to admit or stipulate
that they will not accept more than the requisite amount in controversy in damages
is sufficient proof that the jurisdictional minimum is met. (See Order For RemandRelated Discovery 6, and citations therein, ECF No. 11). For this reason, the Court
It is appropriate to consider attorneys’ fees to arrive at the amount in
controversy when, as in the case of the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Warranty Act,
attorneys’ fees are allowed by statute. See Manguno v. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins.
Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir. 2002) (“If a state statute provides for attorney’s
fees, such fees are included as part of the amount in controversy.”).
finds that it has jurisdiction of this case, and the plaintiffs’ Amended Motion to
Remand should be denied.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the 
Plaintiffs’ Amended Motion to Remand is DENIED. Plaintiffs’  Motion to
Remand is MOOT.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this the 9th day of November 2017.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
U.S. District Judge
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