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Kennedy v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 18, 2017

GREGORY KENNEDY
v.
THE CINCINNATI INSURANCE COMPANY AND JACOB REED KINDRED

         SECTION "S"

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Motion for Leave to File Amended and Supplemental Notice of Removal (Doc. #4) is GRANTED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc. #3) is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on a motion to remand filed by plaintiff, Gregory Kennedy, who argues that this matter should be remanded to the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana because defendants' notice of removal did not properly state the grounds for diversity subject matter jurisdiction. It is also before the court on defendants' motion for leave to amend the notice of removal to more fully state the citizenship of defendant, Jacob Reed Kindred.

         On October 17, 2016, Kennedy, a Louisiana citizen, filed this action in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana seeking damages for injuries that he allegedly sustained in an automobile accident. Kennedy alleges that on May 13, 2016, he was driving his pick-up truck on Interstate 10 in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana when he was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Kindred. Kennedy alleges that Kindred was at fault for the accident and that Kindred and his vehicle were covered by an insurance policy issued by defendant, The Cincinnati Insurance Company. As to damages, Kennedy alleges that as a result of the accident, he:

sustained serious injuries to his neck and back, including disc herniations, wrists, and other parts of his body, together with past and future mental anguish and physical suffering; past and future loss of enjoyment of life; past and future expenses for medical care; and past and future loss of earnings and impaired earning capacity[.]

         Kennedy also alleges that his damages exceed the minimum amount necessary for “federal diversity jurisdiction.”

         On November 22, 2016, Cincinnati, with Kindred's consent, removed this lawsuit to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana alleging diversity subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Cincinnati alleges that the parties are diverse. Kennedy is a citizen of Louisiana. Cincinnati is a citizen of Ohio, because it is a corporation organized under the laws of, and maintaining its principal place of business in, Ohio. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) (a corporation is a citizen of every state by which it has been incorporated and where it has its principal place of business). Kindred is a citizen of Indiana who temporarily resides in Louisiana to attend school. With respect to the amount in controversy, Cincinnati states that the allegations in Kennedy's state court petition regarding the extent of his injuries and his claimed damages for past and future mental and physical suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, lost earnings and impaired earning capacity, along with Kennedy's allegation that his damages exceed the amount required for federal diversity subject matter jurisdiction, show that it is facially apparent that Kennedy's damages exceed $75, 000.

         Kennedy filed a motion to remand arguing that defendants' notice of removal insufficiently states that diversity subject matter jurisdiction is present because defendants did not allege any specific details or evidence demonstrating that there is more than $75, 000 in controversy. Further, Kennedy argues that the parties are not completely diverse because Kindred is domiciled in Louisiana.

         Defendants contend that they are not required to submit evidence regarding the amount in controversy because it is facially apparent that Kennedy's state court petition seeks more than $75, 000 in damages. Defendants also allege that the parties are completely diverse because Kennedy is a citizen of Louisiana, whereas Cincinnati and Kindred are citizens of Ohio and Indiana, respectively.

         Defendants moved to amend their notice of removal to include facts supporting their contention that Kindred is a citizen of Indiana. Kennedy argues that such amendment is untimely. Further, Kennedy argues that even if the amendment is permitted, Kindred's citizenship is contested, and must ...


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