United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the plaintiff's motion to remand, along with
a request for reasonable costs and attorney's fees
incurred a result of the removal. For the reasons that
follow, the motion to remand is GRANTED, and the request for
costs and fees is DENIED.
litigation arises out of a slip-and-fall accident in a
April 13, 2018, Claudette Tull visited Boomtown Casino in
Harvey, Louisiana where she slipped on “water or some
other slippery substance.” The following year, Tull
sued Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., doing business as
“Boomtown Belle Casino Westbank, ” in state
court, alleging that the defendant's negligence caused
her to sustain injuries. Although she alleges no particular
facts concerning the manifestation or nature of her injuries,
Tull seeks “reasonable compensation” for various
damages, including past, present, and future pain and
suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, and loss of
enjoyment of life.
April 11, 2019, Pinnacle Entertainment removed the lawsuit to
this Court, invoking the Court's diversity jurisdiction.
The plaintiff now moves to remand.
the plaintiff challenges removal in this case, the removing
defendant carries 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). 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.
§ 1332(a)(1). The only dispute here is whether the
amount-in-controversy requirement is met.
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 her prayer for relief. La. Code
Civ. Proc. art. 893.
the plaintiff has, therefore, 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