Allen v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties' joint motion to remand is GRANTED. (Doc. No. 14 .) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is REMANDED to the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, in which it was filed. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on October 20, 2015. (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE
Case No. 4:15-cv-00879-AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
In this action initially filed in state court, Plaintiff Cedric Allen seeks to recover
from Defendant Liberty Mutual Insurance Company damages for breach of an insurance
contract. Defendant removed the case to this Court, asserting diversity jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The parties now jointly move to remand the case to
state court, based on Plaintiff’s binding stipulation, in which Plaintiff stipulates that his
damages do not exceed $75,000. (Doc. No. 14-1.)
“Allowing a plaintiff to unequivocally establish his . . . damages as no greater than
$75,000 through use of an affidavit (or other binding declaration) is entirely consistent
with the congressional purpose underlying the amount-in-controversy requirement, that
is, to keep the diversity caseload of the federal courts under some modicum of control.”
Walsh v. J.B. Hunt Transp., Inc., 20 F. Supp. 2d 1300, 1301 (E.D. Mo. 1998) (citation
omitted). In this case, the proffered stipulation indicates that the value of the claim at the
time of removal did not exceed the jurisdictional minimum, such that the amount in
controversy on the face of the complaint is ambiguous at best. See Halsne v. Liberty Mut.
Grp., 40 F. Supp. 2d 1087, 1092 (N.D. Iowa 1999). “In these circumstances, the
stipulation serves to clarify rather than amend the pleadings,” and the Court may find on
the basis of the stipulation that jurisdiction never attached. Id.
Upon review of the record, and based upon Plaintiff’s binding stipulation, the
Court finds that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75,000, and as a result,
jurisdiction was lacking at the time of removal.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties’ joint motion to remand is
GRANTED. (Doc. No. 14.)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is REMANDED to the Circuit
Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, in which it was filed.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 20th day of October, 2015.
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