United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the plaintiff's unopposed motion to remand.
For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.
November 1, 2017, Melody Chamberlain was riding as a
passenger in a vehicle traveling westbound on the I-10 in New
Orleans, Louisiana. When a vehicle being operated by Danny
Johnson attempted to change lanes, it struck the vehicle in
which Ms. Chamberlain was riding. Nearly one year after the
accident, Chamberlain sued Evolution Insurance Company, Danny
Johnson, and Wheel Worx, LLC in Louisiana state court.
Although she alleges no particular facts concerning the
manifestation or nature of her injuries, Chamberlain alleges
that the defendants' negligence caused an assortment of
damages. On December 13, 2018, Danny Johnson and Wheel Worx,
LLC removed the lawsuit to this Court, invoking the
Court's diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff now moves
the plaintiff challenges removal in this case, the removing
defendants carry the burden of showing the propriety of this
Court's removal jurisdiction. See Manguno v.
Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723
(5th Cir. 2002); see also Jernigan v. Ashland
Oil, Inc., 989 F.2d 812, 815 (5th Cir. 1993). Remand is
proper if at any time the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Given the significant
federalism concerns implicated by removal, the removal
statute is strictly construed “and any doubt about the
propriety of removal must be resolved in favor of
remand.” Gutierrez v. Flores, 543 F.3d 248,
251 (5th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); Gasch v.
Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 491 F.3d
278, 281-82 (5th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).
defendant may generally remove a civil action filed in state
court if the federal court has original jurisdiction over the
case -- that is, if the plaintiff could have brought the
action in federal court from the outset. See 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). To exercise diversity jurisdiction,
complete diversity must exist between the plaintiff and all
of the properly joined defendants, and the amount in
controversy must exceed $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C.
determine whether it has jurisdiction, the Court must
consider the allegations in the state court petition as they
existed at the time of removal. See Manguno, 276
F.3d at 723 (citing Cavallini v. State Farm Mut. Auto
Ins. Co., 44 F.3d 256, 264 (5th Cir. 1995)). Louisiana
law requires that a plaintiff include “no specific
amount of damages” in his prayer for relief. La. Code
Civ. Proc. art. 893.
the plaintiff has alleged an indeterminate amount of damages,
the removing party must prove by a preponderance of the
evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
Simon v. Wal-Mart Stores, 193 F.3d 848, 850 (5th
Cir. 1999); see also De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47
F.3d 1404, 1412 (5th Cir. 1995). This showing may be made by
either (1) showing that it is facially apparent that the
plaintiff's claims likely exceed $75, 000, or (2) setting
forth “summary judgment type evidence” of facts
in controversy that support a finding of the jurisdictional
amount. Manguno, 276 F.3d at 723; Luckett v.
Delta Airlines, Inc., 171 F.3d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1999).
“[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, stipulations, and
amendments reducing the amount do not deprive the district
court of jurisdiction.” Gebbia v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 233 F.3d 880, 883 (5th Cir. 2000). If the removing
defendant cannot show that the amount in controversy is
facially apparent, it may be able to “set forth the
facts in controversy - preferably in the removal petition,
but sometimes by affidavit - that support a finding of the
requisite amount.” Luckett, 171 F.3d at 298.
If the petition is ambiguous as to whether the alleged
damages surpass the jurisdictional amount in controversy, the
Court may consider a post-removal affidavit that clarifies
the original complaint. Asociación Nacional de
Pescadores a Pequeña Escala o Artesanales de Colombia
(ANPAC) v. Dow Química de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559,
565 (5th Cir. 1993), abrogated on other grounds by
Marathon Oil Co. v. Ruhgras, 145 F.3d 211, 214 (5th Cir.
1998), rev'd on other grounds, 526 U.S. 574
removing party satisfies its burden, the plaintiff can only
defeat removal by showing that it is “legally certain
that his recovery will not exceed the amount stated in the
state complaint.” De Aguilar, 47 F.3d at 1412;
see St. Paul MercuryIndem. Co. v. Red Cab
Co., 303 U.S. 283, 289 (1938) (“It must appear to
a legal certainty that the claim is really for less than the
jurisdictional amount to justify dismissal.”). Absent a
statute that restricts recovery, “[l]itigants who want
to prevent removal must file a binding stipulation or
affidavit with their complaints; once a defendant has removed