Harrison v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's unopposed motion to remand is GRANTED. (Doc. No. 12 .) 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 November 16, 2016. (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE
Case No. 4:16-cv-01457-AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
In this action initially filed in state court, Plaintiff Gerald Harrison seeks to
recover from Defendant damages related to a policy of underinsured motor vehicle
coverage arising out of a July 10, 2013 motor vehicle collision. Defendant removed the
case to this Court, asserting diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Plaintiff thereafter filed an unopposed motion to remand and a “Stipulation to the
Amount of Damages Sought,” in which he stipulates that the claim as set forth in his
petition does not involve an amount in controversy in excess of $75,000. (Doc. No. 121.)
“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 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 unopposed motion to remand is
GRANTED. (Doc. No. 12.)
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 16th day of November, 2016.
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