Roc-Le Triomphe Associates, LLC v. TaskRabbit, Inc.
ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall proceed in accordance with the case management plan and scheduling order, which will issue separately. The parties' attention is directed to the provisions for periodic status letters, and the need for a pre-motion letter to avoid cancellation of the final conference and setting of a trial date. It is further ORDERED that if Defendant seeks to file a motion to dismiss, it shall file a pre-motion letter pursuant to Individual Rules III.A.1 and III.C.2. (Signed by Judge Lorna G. Schofield on 11/13/2023) (mml)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
ROC LE TRIOMPHE, LLC,
TASK RABBIT, INC.,
23 Civ. 7634 (LGS)
LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, District Judge:
WHEREAS, on June 20, 2023, Plaintiff filed an action in the Supreme Court of the State
of New York, New York County, asserting negligence in connection with penetration of a gas
line and seeking damages “in an amount to be determined at trial, but not less than Seventy
Thousand ($70,000) Dollars.”
WHEREAS, on August 28, 2023, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal, asserting that
diversity jurisdiction existed because (1) there was complete diversity between the parties and (2)
the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000 based on an August 7, 2023, email from Plaintiff to
Defendant as part of the parties’ settlement discussions, which stated for the first time that the
amount of damages was $87,836.00.
WHEREAS, as part of initial pretrial submissions, the parties filed a joint letter in which
Plaintiff asserted that the August 7, 2023, email was sent by Plaintiff’s general counsel for
settlement purposes only. Plaintiff stated that it shared the amount of damages it had sustained
for the “sole purpose of getting Defendant to come up from its ‘offer’” and that “Defendant
ignores the fact that Plaintiff was prepared to settle the case for an amount below the threshold
for diversity jurisdiction in federal courts.”
WHEREAS, an October 16, 2023, Order directed Defendant to show cause why subject
matter jurisdiction exists in this action.
WHEREAS, on October 24, 2023, Defendant filed a letter stating that diversity
jurisdiction exists and removal was proper. On October 31, 2023, Plaintiff filed a letter in
response asserting that “the amount in actual dispute does not exceed $75,000.”
WHEREAS, “district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is
between . . . (1) citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). “To remove a case based
on diversity jurisdiction, the diverse defendant must aver that all of the requirements of diversity
jurisdiction have been met.” Brown v. Eli Lilly & Co., 654 F.3d 347, 356 (2d Cir. 2011). “[I]f
the case stated by the initial pleading is not removable, a notice of removal may be filed within
thirty days after receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended
pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one
which is or has become removable.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3).
WHEREAS, there is complete diversity between the parties. Plaintiff is a New York
corporation with its principal place of business in New York, and Defendant TaskRabbit is a
Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in California.
WHEREAS, the pleadings state only that the amount in controversy is “not less than”
$70,000. Where, like here, “the pleadings are inconclusive as to amount in controversy, then the
courts may look to documents outside the pleadings to other evidence in the record to determine
the amount in controversy.” Yong Qin Luo v. Mikel, 625 F.3d 772, 775 (2d Cir. 2010). A
settlement offer can be evidence of the amount in controversy if it appears to reflect a reasonable
estimate of the value of a plaintiff’s claim. See, e.g., Champion v. CVS Albany, LLC, No. 22 Civ.
7748, 2023 WL 1766284, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 3, 2023) (finding that mediation offer that set out
plaintiff’s alleged lost wages and earnings triggered removal and noting that “[c]ourts have found
that settlement demands can constitute an ‘other paper’ under § 1446”) (collecting cases). Here,
Plaintiff’s August 7, 2023, email stated that “[t]he total damages incurred to date in connection
with the penetration of the gas line on February 1st are $87,836 (exclusive of legal fees . . . paid
to date). That total includes $31,736 in repairs/replacements (based on paid invoices previously
forwarded) and $56,100 in rent credits for B line tenants without gas service from February 1March 16, 2023.” Because Plaintiff’s offer explains the damages incurred in detail and based on
numeric evidence, it reflects a reasonable estimate of the value of Plaintiff’s claim.
WHEREAS, Defendant filed a notice of removal within 30 days of receipt of Plaintiff’s
settlement offer. The jurisdictional requirements have been satisfied. It is hereby
ORDERED that the parties shall proceed in accordance with the case management plan
and scheduling order, which will issue separately. The parties’ attention is directed to the
provisions for periodic status letters, and the need for a pre-motion letter to avoid cancellation of
the final conference and setting of a trial date. It is further
ORDERED that if Defendant seeks to file a motion to dismiss, it shall file a pre-motion
letter pursuant to Individual Rules III.A.1 and III.C.2.
Dated: November 13, 2023
New York, New York
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