Stone et al v. Government Employees Insurance Company et al

Filing 140

ORDER by Judge Benjamin H. Settle requesting response re 139 MOTION for Reconsideration. 139 MOTION for Reconsideration re 135 Order on Motion to Remand: Noting Date 10/20/2017. (TG)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 6 7 8 MEGAN STONE and CHRISTINE CAROSI, 9 Plaintiffs, CASE NO. C16-5383 BHS ORDER REQUESTING RESPONSE AND RENOTING MOTION v. 10 11 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Megan Stone (“Stone”) and Christine Carosi’s (“Carosi”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) motion for reconsideration (Dkt. 139). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby requests a response and renotes the motion. I. 19 20 21 22 PROCEDURAL HISTORY On August 3, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand. Dkt. 112. On September 19, 2017, the Court denied the motion. Dkt. 135. On October 3, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration. Dkt. 139. ORDER - 1 1 II. DISCUSSION 2 Motions for reconsideration are governed by Local Rule 7(h), which provides: 3 No response to a motion for reconsideration shall be filed unless requested by the court. No motion for reconsideration will be granted without such a request. The request will set a time when the response is due, and may limit briefing to particular issues or points raised by the motion, may authorize a reply, and may prescribe page limitations. 4 5 6 7 Local Rules, W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h)(3). In this case, Plaintiffs have identified a potential error of law in the Court’s order 8 denying remand. Although not clearly articulated in either the original briefing or the 9 motion for reconsideration, Plaintiffs’ position is that “[u]nder the preponderance of the 10 evidence standard, if the evidence submitted by both sides is balanced, in equipoise, the 11 scales tip against federal-court jurisdiction.” Ibarra v. Manheim Investments, Inc., 775 12 F.3d 1193, 1199 (9th Cir. 2015). In part, the Court denied Plaintiffs’ motion on the 13 reasonable assumption that awardable attorney’s fees in this matter could exceed 14 $1,634,700. Dkt. 135 at 6. When a plaintiff challenges a defendant’s allegations in 15 support of removal, “‘[e]vidence establishing the amount is required’ where, as here, 16 defendant’s assertion of the amount in controversy is contested by plaintiffs.” Ibarra, 17 775 F.3d at 1197 (quoting Dart Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 18 (2014)). Plaintiffs have challenged GEICO’s allegations, which requires GEICO to 19 submit evidence in support of its allegations. Plaintiffs argue that GEICO failed to 20 submit any evidence on this issue. Regardless of whether Plaintiffs are correct, the Court 21 must at least amend its order. 22 ORDER - 2 1 It appears that denying a motion to remand based only on reasonable assumptions 2 without considering evidence is erroneous. For example, if GEICO did submit relevant 3 evidence on attorney’s fees, the Court must consider the evidence, weigh it against any 4 competing evidence, and then proceed to make reasonable assumptions based on the 5 competing evidence. On the other hand, if neither party submitted evidence on this issue, 6 then the evidence submitted by both sides is balanced and “the scales tip against federal- 7 court jurisdiction.” Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1199. Therefore, the Court requests a response 8 from GEICO and a reply from Plaintiffs. 1 In responding to this request, both parties may 9 submit evidence. 2 10 11 III. ORDER Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that GEICO may submit a response no later 12 than October 13, 2017, Plaintiffs may reply no later than October 20, 2017, and the Clerk 13 shall renote Plaintiffs’ motion for consideration on the Court’s October 20, 2017 14 calendar. 15 Dated this 5th day of October, 2017. A 16 17 BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge 18 19 20 21 1 Briefing is limited to this issue and whether the Court may use reasonable assumptions in the absence of any actual evidence in the record. Any briefing regarding GEICO’s subjective knowledge of potential class damages will be stricken and ignored. 2 22 The Court has shredded everything that was removed from the docket. Thus, a party should resubmit any evidence under seal instead of citing to previous documents that have been removed. ORDER - 3

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