Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Green v. Reyes

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

February 28, 2019

REGINALD GREEN
v.
ALFREDO REYES, ET AL.

          NOTICE AND ORDER

          ERIN WILDER-DOOMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         On December 11, 2018, plaintiff, Reginald Green (“Plaintiff”), filed a Petition for Damages (the “Petition”) against Alfredo Reyes (“Reyes”), A & K Transportation Services Corporation (“A & K”), National Independent Truckers Insurance Company (“NITIC”), and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm”), [1] for damages allegedly arising out of a January 17, 2018 automobile accident.[2] In the Petition, Plaintiff alleges that “as a result of this violent and unexpected collision, [he] sustained lost wages, impairment to earning capacity, mental anguish, and serious personal injuries” and that he “was forced to consult a private physician for injuries to the mind and body incurring medical expenses….”[3] Plaintiff seeks to recover “damages for past, present and future medical expenses; damages for past, present and future physical and mental suffering; for permanent disabilities; for impairment of earning capacity and/or loss of wages; and for inconvenience….”[4]

         On February 25, 2019, NITIC filed a Notice of Removal based on federal diversity subject matter jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332.[5] Although NITIC adequately alleges the citizenship of the individual parties, [6] the Notice of Removal is insufficient with respect to the allegations of citizenship of A & K, NITIC, and State Farm. Per the Notice of Removal, A & K “is a foreign corporation with its principal place of business in the State of Florida.”[7] However, in diversity cases involving corporations, “allegations of citizenship must set forth the state of incorporation as well as the principal place of business of each corporation.”[8] The Notice of Removal also asserts that NITIC and State Farm are both “foreign insurer[s], licensed to do and doing business in the State of Louisiana.”[9] In the event either NITIC or State Farm is a corporation, that defendant's principal place of business and state of incorporation must be alleged.[10] In the event either NITIC or State Farm is a limited liability company or other type unincorporated association, the Notice of Removal must identify each of the members of the association and the citizenship of each member in accordance with the requirements of § 1332(a) and (c).[11] The same requirement applies to any member of a limited liability company or other type of unincorporated association which is also a limited liability company or unincorporated association.[12]

         In addition to the insufficiency of certain allegations of citizenship set forth above, the undersigned also sua sponte raises the issue of whether the amount in controversy requirement has been met. Plaintiff's Petition does not specify what injuries Plaintiff sustained in the accident and instead only alleges that his injuries were “serious.”[13] There is no allegation in the Petition regarding the amount in controversy, and Plaintiff only lists general categories of damages. “Courts have routinely held that pleading general categories of damages, such as ‘pain and suffering, disability, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, etc.,' without any indication of the amount of the damages sought, does not provide sufficient information for the removing defendant to meet his burden of proving that the amount in controversy is satisfied under the ‘facially apparent' test.”[14] Accordingly, the amount in controversy is not facially apparent from the Petition, and NITIC bears the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy likely exceeds $75, 000.[15]

         In its Notice of Removal, NITIC asserts that prior to removal, “counsel for NITIC requested that plaintiff stipulate that the plaintiff's damages in the suit do not exceed $75, 000.00”[16]and that in response to this request, plaintiff's attorney advised that Plaintiff “had recently undergone epidural steroid injections to the cervical and lumbar spine” and that “under the circumstances plaintiff refused to stipulate that the damages at issue do not exceed $75, 000.00.”[17]NITIC asserts that based on this refusal, as well as the disclosure of Plaintiff's medical records, “it is now apparent that the plaintiff's alleged damages resulting from the subject accident at issue in this suit are now likely to exceed the $75, 000.00 threshold.”[18]

         A review of the medical records attached to the Notice of Removal indicates that Plaintiff's medical expenses total approximately $9, 971.90[19] and there is nothing to indicate that Plaintiff's treating doctors have recommended surgery.[20] This Court recently explained that “‘[s]everal recent federal court decisions have held that the removing defendant did not meet its burden of providing [sic] the amount in controversy where the plaintiff suffered disc bulging or herniation without operation, and incurred less than $15, 000 in medical expenses at the time of removal.'”[21]

         Further, this Court has noted that the failure to stipulate is but one factor that the court may consider when analyzing whether the amount in controversy is present.[22]

         Based on the information contained in the Petition and the Notice of Removal, the court sua sponte raises the issue of whether it may exercise diversity jurisdiction in this matter, specifically, whether the amount in controversy requirement has been met.

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that on or before Monday, March 11, 2019, National Independent Truckers Insurance Company shall file a Motion to Substitute the Notice of Removal with a comprehensive Amended Notice of Removal that adequately alleges the citizenship of National Independent Truckers Insurance Company, A & K Transportation Services Corporation, and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

         that on or before Monday, March 11, 2019, National Independent Truckers Insurance Company shall file a memorandum and supporting evidence concerning whether the amount in controversy requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1332 is met.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that on or before Thursday, March 21, 2019, Plaintiff shall file either: (1) a Notice stating that Plaintiff agrees that NITIC has established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy likely exceeds $75, 000.00;[23] or (2) a Motion to Remand.

         The case will be allowed to proceed if jurisdiction is ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.