United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
G. JAMES JUDGE.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the
District Court, is a motion to dismiss for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) [doc. # 27] filed
by defendant, Ruston Louisiana Hospital Company, LLC d/b/a
Northern Louisiana Medical Center (“NLMC”)]. The
motion is unopposed. For reasons stated below, it is
recommended that the motion to dismiss be GRANTED, and that
plaintiff's complaint be dismissed, without prejudice.
September 20, 2016, Taurus Davis filed the above-captioned
matter in federal court against NLMC on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §1332. Plaintiff
alleged that on August 26, 2015, while a guest at NLMC, an
elevator door malfunctioned and repeatedly struck his body
causing “serious and debilitating injuries.”
(Compl., ¶ 6). Plaintiff prayed for special and general
damages, including past, present and future lost earning
capacity; past, present, and future physical pain and
suffering; mental anguish; loss of enjoyment of life; and
inconvenience. (Compl.; Prayer). He also alleged that his
damages exceeded the statutory minimum for the exercise of
diversity jurisdiction. (Compl.; ¶ 1).
twice requiring plaintiff to amend his complaint to properly
allege the citizenship of NLMC, the court reviewed the
amended pleadings and found that it enjoyed diversity
jurisdiction. See doc. #s 9-16. Moreover, neither
party anticipated any jurisdictional challenges to the
court's subject matter jurisdiction. (Parties' Rule
26(f) Report [doc. # 8]).
November 22, 2017, however, NLMC filed the instant motion to
dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis
that the amount in controversy does not exceed the
jurisdictional minimum - $75, 000. Plaintiff did not file a
response to the motion. Moreover, his deadline to do so has
lapsed. See Notice of Motion Setting [doc. # 28].
Accordingly, the motion is deemed unopposed. Id.
axiomatic that federal courts are courts of “limited
jurisdiction possessing only that power authorized by
Constitution and statute.” Gunn v. Minton, 568
U.S. 251, 256, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064(2013) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, “there is a
presumption against subject matter jurisdiction that must be
rebutted by the party bringing an action to federal
court.” Coury v. Prot, 85 F.3d 244, 248 (5th
Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). In other words, the party
seeking to invoke federal court jurisdiction bears the burden
of demonstrating its existence. Howery v. Allstate Ins.
Co., 243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001). Lack
of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time.
Giles v. Nylcare Health Plans, Inc., 172 F.3d 332,
336 (5th Cir. 1999). “A court can find that
subject matter jurisdiction is lacking based on (1) the
complaint alone; (2) the complaint supplemented by undisputed
facts evidenced in the record; or (3) the complaint
supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's
resolution of disputed facts.” Enable Mississippi
River Transmission, L.L.C. v. Nadel & Gussman,
L.L.C., 844 F.3d 495, 497 (5th Cir.2016) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). “A case is properly
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction when the
court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to
adjudicate the case.” Home Builders Ass'n of
Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th
Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). Furthermore, a district court
should dismiss where “it appears certain that the
plaintiff cannot prove a plausible set of facts that
establish subject-matter jurisdiction.” Venable v.
Louisiana Workers' Comp. Corp., 740 F.3d 937 (5th
Cir. 2013) (citations omitted).
invoked this court's subject matter jurisdiction
exclusively via diversity, which contemplates complete
diversity of citizenship between the parties and an amount in
controversy greater than $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
The sole issue here is amount in controversy. As explained by
the Supreme Court,
[t]he rule governing dismissal for want of jurisdiction in
cases brought in the federal court is that, unless the law
gives a different rule, the sum claimed by the plaintiff
controls if the claim is apparently made in good faith. It
must appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really for
less than the jurisdictional amount to justify dismissal. The
inability of plaintiff to recover an amount adequate to give
the court jurisdiction does not show his bad faith or oust
the jurisdiction. Nor does the fact that the complaint
discloses the existence of a valid defense to the claim. But
if, from the face of the pleadings, it is apparent, to a
legal certainty, that the plaintiff cannot recover the amount
claimed or if, from the proofs, the court is satisfied to a
like certainty that the plaintiff never was entitled to
recover that amount, and that his claim was therefore
colorable for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction, the
suit will be dismissed. Events occurring subsequent to the
institution of suit which reduce the amount recoverable below
the statutory limit do not oust jurisdiction.
St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S.
283, 288-90, 58 S.Ct. 586, 590-91 (1938).
the foregoing principles to the facts at hand, and in light
of the lack of any opposition or argument to the contrary,
the court finds that it is legally certain that
plaintiff's claims did/do not exceed the jurisdictional
support of its motion, NLMC adduced evidence that, prior to
suit, plaintiff had incurred but approximately $4, 000 in
medical expenses. See Med. Records; M/Dismiss Exh.
A, pgs. 61, 63. Moreover, as of the time of his interrogatory
responses in April 17, 2017, plaintiff had suffered lost
wages of no more than $31, 000. See Interr. Response
No. 14; M/Dismiss, Exh. A (40 hrs./week x $9/hr. x 84 weeks).
Although plaintiff continues to experience right knee pain
that flares up several times per week, there is no indication
that he underwent any surgical procedure for the condition or
that surgery is contemplated in the future. See Pl.
Depo. and Med. Records; M/Dismiss Exhs. A & B. Also, his
back and neck pain resolved. (Pl. Depo., pg. 99). Case law