Garazha v. TD Ameritrade, Inc.
ORDER granting motion to remand 8 , denying motion to compel arbitration & stay proceedings 4 as moot & w/out prejudice, REMANDING case to CCP of Lebanon County, PA, & directing Clrk of Ct to CLOSE case. (See order for complete details.) Signed by Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner on 8/23/17. (ki)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
TD AMERITRADE, INC.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:17-CV-999
(Chief Judge Conner)
AND NOW, this 23rd day of August, 2017, upon consideration of the motion
(Doc. 8) for remand by plaintiff Dmytro Garazha (“Garazha”), wherein Garazha
avers that the amount in controversy sub judice is less than $75,000, precluding
federal jurisdiction, (id. at ¶¶ 5-10), which motion is unopposed by defendant TD
Ameritrade, Inc. (“TD Ameritrade”), and the court observing that as the party
asserting jurisdiction, (Doc. 1), TD Ameritrade bears the burden of proving that the
matter is properly before the federal court, see Frederico v. Home Depot, 507 F.3d
188, 193 (3d Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); Steel Valley Auth. v. Union Switch &
Signal Div., 809 F.2d 1006, 1010 (3d Cir. 1987) (citing Abels v. State Farm Fire & Cas.
Co., 770 F.2d 26, 29 (3d Cir. 1985)); and that it must establish that the instant matter
is between citizens of different states and that the amount in controversy, exclusive
of interest and costs, exceeds $75,000, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); and that the parties do
not dispute diversity of citizenship, (see Doc. 1 ¶¶ 3-5; Doc. 8 ¶ 4), and the court
further observing that a plaintiff cannot destroy jurisdiction after removal by
merely stipulating to damages below the jurisdictional threshold, Angus v. Shiley
Inc., 989 F.2d 142, 145 (3d Cir. 1993) (citing St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab
Co., 303 U.S. 283, 292 (1938)), and that we must evaluate an open-ended claim, such
as the one pled herein, by a reasonable reading of the value of the plaintiff’s
damages, id. at 146 (citations omitted); Rigney v. Felicia, 433 F. Supp. 2d 534, 537
(E.D. Pa. 2006), and that we must remand if we determine that Garazha cannot
recover the jurisdictional amount to a “legal certainty,” see Frederico, 507 F.3d at
196-99 (citing Samuel-Bassett v. KIA Motors America, Inc., 357 F.3d 392, 398 (3d Cir.
2004); Red Cab, 303 U.S. at 586), and mindful that doubts must be resolved in favor
of remand, see Samuel-Bassett, 357 F.3d at 403, and the court noting as a threshold
matter that the nature of the complaint, and injury alleged therein, does not lend
itself to an objective inquiry, see id., and the court further noting that Garazha does
not plead specific damages in his complaint beyond suffering “severe distress,
embarrassment and humiliation,” (Doc. 1-1 ¶¶ 22, 23, 28), and the court concluding
that the complaint does not demonstrate, and TD Ameritrade has not shown, that
Garazha’s damages could exceed the jurisdictional threshold,1 see Frederico, 507
F.3d at 199, it is hereby ORDERED that:
The motion (Doc. 8) to remand is GRANTED.
The motion (Doc. 4) to compel arbitration and stay proceedings is
DENIED as moot and without prejudice.
Garazha stipulates in his briefing that the amount in controversy does not
exceed $75,000. (Doc. 9 at 3). The court notes that this stipulation does not
contradict the allegations and request for relief in Garazha’s complaint. This
stipulation itself cannot divest a federal court of jurisdiction once established, see
Angus, 989 F.2d at 145, but undergirds our conclusion that jurisdiction does not
exist in the first place.
The above captioned case is REMANDED to the Court of Common
Pleas of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
The Clerk is directed to CLOSE the above captioned case.
/S/ CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
United States District Court
Middle District of Pennsylvania
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?