United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
A. DOUGHTY, MAG. JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the
District Court, is a motion to remand [doc. # 7] filed by
plaintiff Abigail Matute. The motion is opposed. For reasons
set forth below, it is recommended that the motion to remand
Matute filed the instant suit on May 24, 2018, against
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in the Fifth Judicial District Court
for the Parish of Franklin, State of Louisiana. (Petition).
Plaintiff seeks recovery for injuries to her knees, ankles,
right hip, shoulder, and body that she sustained in the wake
of a May 30, 2017, slip and fall accident while shopping at
the Winnsboro, Wal-Mart store. Id.
August 16, 2018, Matute perfected service on defendant,
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Notice of Removal). On September 28,
2018, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. filed its answer to the suit,
which Wal-Mart Louisiana, L.L.C., also joined in, on the
basis that the latter entity was the actual owner and
operator of the Winnsboro store where plaintiff sustained her
February 1, 2019, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart
Louisiana, L.L.C. (collectively, “Wal-Mart”)
removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Notice of Removal). On
February 19, 2019, plaintiff filed the instant motion to
remand the case to state court because she contends that
removal was untimely. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Wal-Mart
filed its opposition brief on March 12, 2019. [doc. # 9].
Plaintiff filed her reply on March 19, 2019. [doc. # 10].
Thus, the matter is ripe.
defendant may remove an action from state court to federal
court, provided the action is one in which the federal court
may exercise original jurisdiction. Manguno v. Prudential
Property and Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723
(5th Cir. 2002) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)).
The removing defendant bears the burden of establishing
federal subject matter jurisdiction and ensuring compliance
with the procedural requirements of removal. Id.
Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, a
suit is presumed to lie outside this limited jurisdiction
unless and until the party invoking federal jurisdiction
establishes to the contrary. Howery v. Allstate Ins.
Co., 243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001) (citation
determine whether jurisdiction is present, courts consider
“the claims in the state court petition as they existed
at the time of removal.” Manguno, 276 F.3d at
723 (citing Cavallini v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins.
Co., 44 F.3d 256, 264 (5th Cir. 1995)). “Any
ambiguities are construed against removal because the removal
statute should be strictly construed in favor of
remand.” Id. (citing Acuna v. Brown &
Root, Inc., 200 F.3d 335, 339 (5th Cir. 2000)).
The Court Enjoys Subject Matter Jurisdiction
invoked this court's subject matter jurisdiction, via
diversity, which contemplates complete diversity of
citizenship and an amount in controversy that exceeds $75,
000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Both requirements are
satisfied here. First, the parties are completely diverse:
plaintiff is a Louisiana domiciliary and citizen; defendants
ultimately are citizens of Arkansas and Delaware. (Notice of
Removal, ¶¶ 4-5). Second, Wal-Mart has demonstrated
by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in
controversy exceeded $75, 000 at the time of removal.
to the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification
Act of 2011
(“JVCA”), the removal statute now specifies that
[i]f removal of a civil action is sought on the basis of the
jurisdiction conferred by section 1332(a), the sum demanded
in good faith in the initial pleading shall be deemed to be
the amount in controversy, except that-
(A) the notice of removal may assert the amount in
controversy if the initial pleading seeks--
a money judgment, but the State practice either does not
permit demand for a specific sum or permits recovery of
damages in excess of the amount demanded . . .
28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(A)(ii).
as permitted above, the amount in controversy is derived from
the notice of removal, the removing defendant must
demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the
amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional minimum. 28
U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(B); De Aguilar v. Boeing
Co., 47 F.3d 1404, ...