United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is plaintiffs Relester Cain (“Cain”),
Xavier Ball (“Ball”), and Bryanna McClendon's
(“McClendon”) (collectively, the
“plaintiffs”) motion to remand the
above-captioned matter to Louisiana state court. For the
following reasons, the motion is granted.
case arises out of a May 2017 accident in which the
plaintiffs, who were riding in one vehicle, were struck by
another driver. The other driver had an insurance policy
that was allegedly insufficient to adequately compensate the
plaintiffs, so they sought additional compensation from
defendant James River Insurance Company (“James
River”), their underinsured motorist coverage
to the plaintiffs' state court petition, James River
refused to provide coverage. Consequently, the plaintiffs
filed the present lawsuit in the Civil District Court for the
Parish of Orleans. In August 2018, James River removed the
case to this Court. James River contends that this Court has
original jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), “any civil action brought in
a State court of which the district courts of the United
States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the
defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the
United States for the district and division embracing the
place where such action is pending, ” unless Congress
provides otherwise. Jurisdictional facts supporting removal
are assessed at the time of removal. Louisiana v. Am.
Nat'l Prop. Cas. Co., 746 F.3d 633, 636-37 (5th Cir.
2014). “The removing party bears the burden of
establishing that federal jurisdiction exists.” De
Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47 F.3d 1404, 1408 (5th Cir.
to Section 1332, a district court has original jurisdiction
over cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000, exclusive of interest and costs, and the parties are
citizens of different states. It is uncontested that the
parties are completely diverse, as the plaintiffs are all
citizens of Louisiana and James River is a foreign
corporation. However, the plaintiffs dispute the amount
in controversy. They assert that the jurisdictional amount
did not exceed $75, 000 at the time of removal and that, as a
result, the Court must remand this case for lack of subject
faced with an amount-in-controversy dispute, the applicable
standard of proof depends on whether the plaintiff's
state court petition alleges a specific dollar amount in
damages. Allen v. R & H Oil & Gas Co., 63
F.3d 1326, 1335 (5th Cir. 1995) When the petition alleges a
specific amount and that amount exceeds $75, 000, such amount
“controls in good faith.” Id. “In
order for the court to refuse jurisdiction, ‘it [must]
appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really for less
than the jurisdictional amount.'” Id.
(quoting St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab.
Co., 303 U.S. 283, 289 (1983)).
in cases, such as this one, where the petition does not
specify a damages amount, the removing defendant must
establish that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, by a preponderance of the
evidence. Id. “This requirement is met if (1)
it is apparent from the face of the petition that the claims
are likely to exceed $75, 000, or, alternatively, (2) the
defendant sets forth ‘summary judgment type
evidence' of facts in controversy that support a finding
of the requisite amount.” Manguno v. Prudential
Prop. & Cas. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir. 2002)
(citations omitted). Once the defendant has met his burden,
the plaintiff can only defeat jurisdiction 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) (quoting De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47 F.3d
1404, 1412 (5th Cir. 1995)).
has sworn in an affidavit that she is not seeking to recover
monetary damages in excess of $75, 000. However, the Fifth
Circuit has held that such post-removal affidavits are of
While post-removal affidavits may be considered in
determining the amount in controversy at the time of removal,
such affidavits may be considered only if the basis for
jurisdiction is ambiguous at the time of removal. . . . [I]f
it is facially apparent from the petition that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000 at the time of removal,
post-removal affidavits, ...