Wagner v. Geico Casualty Company
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion to remand is GRANTED. (Doc. No. 9 .) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is REMANDED to the CircuitCourt of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, in which it was filed. IT IS FURTHER O RDERED that Defendants motion for extension of time to respond to Plaintiffs motion to remand is DENIED as moot. (Doc. No. 11 .) (A copy of the Order and docket sheet mailed to the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, MO) Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 09/16/2016. (KCB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
GEICO CASUALTY COMPANY
Case No. 4:16-cv-01323-AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
In this action initially filed in state court, Plaintiff John Wagner seeks to recover
from Defendant damages related to a policy of uninsured motor vehicle coverage arising
out of an August 3, 2015 motor vehicle collision. Defendant removed the case to this
Court, asserting diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Plaintiff has
moved to remand the case, arguing that the amount in controversy does not exceed
$75,000, and therefore does not meet the jurisdictional minimum. The parties thereafter
entered into a binding stipulation, in which Plaintiff stipulates that his damages do not
exceed $75,000. (Doc. No. 12.) Based on that stipulation, Defendant consents to
“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) (citations
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 Plaintiff’s motion to remand is GRANTED.
(Doc. No. 9.)
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.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant’s motion for extension of time to
respond to Plaintiff’s motion to remand is DENIED as moot. (Doc. No. 11.)
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 16th day of September, 2016.
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