United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
M AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a motion filed by Demontez Mosley to remand the
above-captioned matter to Louisiana state court. Mosley also
requests costs and fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Court concludes that American Insurance has not met its
burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence
that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Therefore,
the Court remands the case to the 21st Judicial District
Court for the Parish of Tangipahoa, Louisiana. However, the
Court denies Mosley's request for costs and fees.
Mosley filed the present negligence action in Louisiana state
court seeking damages arising from an automobile
accident. Mosley alleges that he was travelling
behind a tractor-trailer operated by Rolando Tamez Casas when
a tire tread detached from the tractor-trailer and struck
Mosley's vehicle, causing Mosley to collide with a
guardrail on the side of Interstate 12 in St. Tammany
Parish.Mosley alleges that the tracker-trailer was
owned by Arizpe Transport & Logistics, LLC and insured by
American Millennium Insurance Company (“American
Mosley filed suit, American Millennium removed the
case. Mosley now seeks to have the matter
remanded on the ground that the amount in controversy
requirement is not satisfied.
facts supporting removal, including the amount in
controversy, are judged at the time of removal. Gebbia v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 233 F.3d 880, 883 (5th Cir.
2000). To resolve disputes over the amount in controversy
where a civil action has been removed from Louisiana state
court, the Fifth Circuit has “established a clear
analytical framework.” Id. at 882. Louisiana
law prohibits plaintiffs from specifying the numerical value
of their damages in their petitions for damages. La. C. Civ.
P. art. 893. As such, “the removing defendant must
prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.” Gebbia, 233
F.3d at 882 (citing Luckett v. Delta Airlines, Inc.,
171 F.3d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1999)).
removing defendant can meet this burden in two ways:
“(1) by demonstrating that it was facially apparent
from the allegations of the state court petition that the
amount in controversy exceeded the $75, 000.00 jurisdictional
threshold, or (2) by offering summary-judgment type evidence
of the facts in controversy, which support a finding that the
requisite amount was in controversy.” Bienemy v.
Hertz Corp., No. 16-15413, 2016 WL 6994200, at *2 (E.D.
La. Nov. 30, 2016) (Morgan, J.) (internal quotation marks
omitted). “If the amount in controversy is not facially
apparent from the allegations in the state court petition
and, in fact, is ambiguous at the time of removal, the court
may consider a post-removal affidavit or stipulation to
assess the amount in controversy as of the date of
removal.” Id. However, if “the amount in
controversy is clear from the face of the state court
petition, post-removal affidavits or stipulations that
purport to reduce the amount of damages a plaintiff seeks
cannot deprive the court of jurisdiction.” Id.
the defendant has established by a preponderance of the
evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, the
“plaintiff can defeat diversity jurisdiction only by
showing to a legal certainty that the amount in controversy
does not exceed $75, 000.” Grant v. Chevron
Phillips Chem. Co., 309 F.3d 864, 869 (5th Cir. 2002)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Any doubts about the
jurisdictional facts supporting removal “are to be
construed against removal and in favor of remand to state
court.” Riley v. Wal-Mart, La., No. 15-5729,
2015 WL 9268160, at *1 (E.D. La. Dec. 21, 2015) (Africk, J.).
Millennium argues that the jurisdictional amount is
“facially apparent from the allegations of the state
court petition.” Bienemy, 2016 WL 6994200, at
*2. The Court disagrees and concludes that American
Millennium has not met its burden of proving by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000.
petition for damages that Mosley filed in Louisiana state
court alleges that Mosley “suffered and continues to
suffer with pain in his shoulder, neck and back, as well as
injuries to his entire body which will be demonstrated at
trial.” As such, Mosley “seeks reasonable
damages” for “[p]ast, present and future physical
pain and suffering”; “[p]ast, present and future
mental anguish and emotional pain”; “[p]ast,
present and future medical expenses”; “[l]oss of
the enjoyment of life (hedonic ...