United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. R. Doc. 9.
Having reviewed the parties' briefs and the applicable
law, the Court now issues this Order & Reasons.
8, 2016, Plaintiff Laura Anderson filed suit in the Civil
District Court for the Parish of Orleans alleging injuries
stemming from an automobile collision occurring in Orleans
Parish, Louisiana, on August 10, 2015. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant Vladimir Kesler negligently failed to stop at a red
light and collided with her vehicle as she was proceeding
east on South Broad Street, causing “multiple
contusions and abrasions, cervical strain, lumbar strain,
nerve and disk damage, [and] an aggravation of pre-existing
fibromyalgia”. R. Doc. 1-5 at 2. In her petition,
Plaintiff seeks damages for (a) physical pain and suffering;
(b) mental anguish; (c) permanent disability; (d) medical
expenses; (e) loss of income; (f) loss of earning capacity;
and (g) loss of enjoyment of life. R. Doc. 1-5 at 2. In
accordance with Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article
893(a), Plaintiff did not plead a specific damage amount in
her petition. Plaintiff also did not note whether the amount
in controversy met, or did not meet, the amount required for
federal diversity jurisdiction. Defendant Plymouth Rock
Assurance Company provided liability coverage for the vehicle
operated by Vladimir Kesler. R. Doc. 1-5 at 2.
informed Defendants of her significant injury and medical
costs on November 15, 2015 and May 26, 2016, prior to filing
suit in state court on July 8, 2016. R. Doc. 9-1 at 1-2. On
August 10, 2016, Defendants filed a motion for extension of
time. On September 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a supplemental
petition adding her underinsured motorist carrier to the
complaint. “Around that time, ” Defendants sent a
request for admission asking about the value of the damages;
Plaintiff responded on October 20, 2016, that the damages
exceeded $75, 000. R. Doc. 9-1 at 2.
Plymouth Rock Assurance Company filed a Notice of Removal on
October 20, 2016. Invoking this Court's diversity
jurisdiction, Defendant asserted that this action involves a
controversy between citizens of different states and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, based on
Plaintiff's amended complaint filed September 28, 2016.
R. Doc. 1 at 3; R. Doc. 1-2.
November 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present motion to
remand, arguing that Notice of Removal is untimely under 28
U.S.C. § 1446(b). R. Doc. 9-1 at 2-3. Defendants oppose
remand, maintaining the Notice of Removal was filed within
the requisite time limit.
Plaintiff's Motion to Remand
provided correspondence between the parties prior to the
commencement of the case detailing her injury and medical
care. R. Doc. 9-1 at 1-2; R. Docs. 9-2; 9-3; 9-4; 9-5. Based
on this correspondence, Plaintiff claims that Defendants were
on notice that Plaintiff's damages would exceed $75, 000.
R. Doc. 9-1 at 1-2. Plaintiff filed suit on July 8, 2016, and
responded to a request for admission acknowledging that
damages exceeded $75, 000 on October 20, 2016. In her motion
to remand, Plaintiff contends that Defendants had notice of
the potential damages prior to the commencement of the
lawsuit, and that the petition noted injury to
Plaintiff's disc and nerves, indicating significant and
costly damages. R. Doc. 9-1 at 3. Additionally, Plaintiff
contends that the medical records and settlement demands sent
to Defendants constitute “other paper” as set
forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b), rendering Defendants'
Notice of Removal untimely. R. Doc. 9-1 at 3.
oppose the motion to remand, contending that prior to
September 2016 they had no reason to believe the amount in
controversy exceeded $75, 000 and thus no reason to file a
Notice of Removal. R. Doc. 10 at 4. Defendants aver that the
medical documentation they received from Plaintiff between
July 8, 2016, the date the state petition was filed, and
September 26, 2016, indicated that Plaintiff's medical
costs totaled $10, 627.57. R. Doc. 10 at 3. In late
September, Plaintiff filed an amended petition adding her
Underinsured Motorist insurer as a defendant. R. Doc. 10 at
4. On September 26, 2016, Defendants forwarded Plaintiff two
requests for admission, attempting to clarify that the
damages and the amount in controversy would not exceed $75,
000. R. Doc. 10 at 3. Plaintiffs did not respond to these
requests within 15 days of service, so, relying on La. Code
of Civil Procedure art. 1467, Defendants contend they were
admitted. R. Doc. 10 at 4. On October 20, 2016, Plaintiff
responded to Defendants' response to request for
admission, neither admitting or denying that the amount in
damages was greater or less than $75, 000 because the trier
of facts determines damages. R. Doc. 9-6 at 1. Also on
October 20, 2016, Defendant received Plaintiff's medical
records pursuant to a subpoena indicating ongoing medical
treatment. R. Doc. 10 at 4-5. At this time, Defendants
maintain that it was apparent that Plaintiff's damages
would exceed $75, 000 and filed a Notice of Removal. R. Doc.
10 at 5-6.
LAW AND ANALYSIS