SWEENEY v. ALLY BANK CORP
ORDER. Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc. 5 ) is DENIED, as is her request for an award of costs and fees associated with the Motion. However, consistent with the discussions in the paper Order corresponding with this docket entry, Plaintiff i s afforded until 2/24/21 to file a stipulation (or affidavit) indicating that she does not seek, and will not accept, recovery in excess of $75,000.00. If a compliant stipulation/affidavit is timely filed, this case will be remanded forthwith. If not, the case will proceed here, and the Court will enter an order setting an initial case management conference. Signed by Judge Cathy Bissoon on 2/17/21. (dcd)
Case 2:20-cv-00876-CB Document 11 Filed 02/17/21 Page 1 of 2
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ALLY BANK CORP.,
Civil Action No. 20-876
Judge Cathy Bissoon
Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand (Doc. 5) will be denied, with instructions.
In this diversity-case, Plaintiff disputes that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
In this context, information regarding the putative value of Plaintiff’s claims is not restricted to
the allegations in the Complaint. See Harris v. Abbott Acquisition Co., 2017 WL 3608138, *6
(W.D. Pa. Aug. 22, 2017) (holding same). Defendant’s Response details several potential
categories of damages, consistent with the Complaint, that (combined) easily could surpass the
threshold dollar amount. See Doc. 8 at 11 (potential recovery may include statutory damages for
an alleged breach of the peace; damages for trespass to real property that occurred during
repossession; statutory damages of up to $26,700 for collection; three times the amount of the
costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by Plaintiff in responding to a Florida collection action;
and attorneys’ fees incurred to prosecute Plaintiff’s claims in this case). Under the
circumstances, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand (Doc. 5) should be, and is, DENIED; as is her
request for an award of costs and fees associated with the Motion to Remand.
A matter warranting further consideration, however, is Plaintiff’s indication of her
willingness to stipulate that the amount in controversy is less than $75,000.00. See Doc. 5 at ¶ 5.
Case 2:20-cv-00876-CB Document 11 Filed 02/17/21 Page 2 of 2
This Court has, on more than one occasion, remanded cases where a plaintiff’s stipulation
clarifies (rather than amends) the pleadings to confirm that he or she does not seek, and will not
accept, judgment in excess of the statutory minimum. See, e.g., Doc. 5 in Civil Action No.
2:17-1210; Doc. 16 in Civil Action No. 2:13-104; see also, e.g., Brewer v. Geico, 2014 WL
241756, *5 n.3 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 22, 2014) (recognizing permissibility of the same); Rosado v.
Encompass Ins. Co., 2010 WL 2431829, *2 (E.D. Pa. Jun. 10, 2010) (same).
Here, the Complaint certainly is ambiguous regarding the measure of damages requested;
and this case is of-the-type where a clarifying stipulation is permissible. While oftentimes the
Court has seen such stipulations signed by both sides, there is nothing in the law, from the
undersigned’s perspective, requiring Defendant’s assent.
Accordingly, Plaintiff will be afforded a period of one week, until February 24, 2021,
to file a stipulation (or affidavit) indicating that she does not seek, and will not accept, recovery
in excess of $75,000.00. If a compliant stipulation/affidavit is timely filed, this case will be
remanded forthwith. If not, the case will proceed here, and the Court will enter an order setting
an initial case management conference.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
February 17, 2021
United States District Judge
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