United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PATRICK J. HANNA JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Remand filed on behalf of
Plaintiff, Toby Ryder. (Rec. Doc. 5). Defendants, Northland
Insurance Company, Rowland Truck Lines, Inc., and Bunny
Thompson Walker, oppose the Motion (Rec. Doc. 8). The Motion
was referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for review,
report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions
of 28 U.S.C. §636 and the standing orders of this Court.
Considering the evidence, the law, and the arguments of the
parties, and for the reasons fully explained below, it is
recommended that Plaintiff's Motion be denied.
filed this suit for injuries allegedly sustained in an
automobile accident on May 21, 2018 in St. Martin Parish,
Louisiana. Plaintiff (a Louisiana citizen) alleged the
accident was caused by Bunny Thompson Walker (a Florida
citizen), who was employed by Rowland Truck Lines
(a Florida corporation with its principal place of business
therein) and insured by Northland Ins. Co. (a
Connecticut corporation with its principal place of business
therein). (Rec. Doc. 1-2). Plaintiff alleged
generally that he “sustained injuries to his mind and
body, including but not limited to neck and back, together
with mental anguish and physical suffering; loss of enjoyment
of life; expenses for medical care; and loss of
earnings.” (Rec. Doc. 1-2, ¶VI). Plaintiff did not
allege a specific monetary amount he was seeking to recover.
removed the case on the basis of diversity jurisdiction on
June 3, 2019. (Rec. Doc. 1). In support of their removal,
Defendants included an October 29, 2018 settlement demand
from Plaintiff for $15, 000 plus medical expenses of $4,
831.00 and indicating medical treatment including
chiropractic treatment and radiological exams of
Plaintiff's neck and back. (Rec. Doc. 1-6).
Defendants' Notice of Removal further stated that
Plaintiff's counsel “advised” on March 6,
2019 that Dr. William Brennan had recommended cervical
surgery and provided a surgical estimate of $56, 810.00.
(Rec. Doc. 1, ¶15; 1-7).
filed the instant Motion to Remand on the grounds that
Defendants did not meet their burden of proof to show that
the amount in controversy exceeds this Court's
jurisdictional threshold of $75, 000.
federal district courts have original jurisdiction over cases
involving a federal question, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1331, and those in which the parties are diverse in
citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332. Courts may also exercise,
or decline to exercise, supplemental jurisdiction over
certain cases. 28 U.S.C. §1367; Preston v. Tenet
Healthsystem Mem'l Med. Ctr., Inc., 485 F.3d 804,
810 (5th Cir. 2007). 28 U.S.C. §1441 and §1446
provide the procedural mechanism by which a party may remove
a matter from state court to a federal district court.
upon the filing of a motion to remand, the removing party
bears the burden to prove that federal jurisdiction exists.
De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47 F.3d 1404, 1408 (5th
Cir.1995). Thus, Defendants, as the party seeking to invoke
federal diversity jurisdiction under §1332, bear the
burden of establishing both that the parties are diverse and
that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Garcia
v. Koch Oil Co. of Texas Inc., 351 F.3d 636, 638 (5th
of the parties is not an issue in this case. Rather,
Plaintiff challenges Defendants' removal on the grounds
of amount in controversy. The Court must determine whether
Defendants have met their burden of proof to show by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000.
We ordinarily consult the state court petition to determine
the amount in controversy. St. Paul Reinsurance Co., Ltd.
v. Greenberg, 134 F.3d 1250, 1253 (5th Cir.1998).
However, Louisiana prohibits plaintiffs from petitioning for
a specific monetary amount. See La.Code Civ. P. art.
893(A)(1). Therefore, where, as here, the petition does not
include a specific monetary demand, Prudential must establish
by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See De Aguilar, 47
F.3d at 1412 (5th Cir.1995). 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. Ins. Co., 276
F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir.2002).
a defendant is able to show that the amount in controversy
exceeds the jurisdictional amount, removal is proper,
provided plaintiff has not shown 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.
The plaintiff may establish that his claims will not exceed
the jurisdictional threshold to a legal certainty “by