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Chestnut v. Hodges

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

September 20, 2019

CONTINE CHESTNUT, INDIVIDUALLY, AND ON BEHALF OF HER MINOR CHILDREN, TOREY CORNIN AND TYRAY CHESTNUT
v.
STEVEN HODGES, BLACKHAWK TRANSPORTATION, INC. AND GREAT WEST CASUALTY CO.

          NOTICE AND ORDER

          ERIN WILDER-DOOMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is a civil action involving claims for damages based upon the injuries allegedly sustained by Plaintiffs Contine Chestnut (“Contine”) and her minor children Torey Cornin and Tyray Chestnut (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), on February 23, 2019 on Interstate 10 in Ascension Parish, Louisiana when Contine’s vehicle was struck on the passenger side by the International Prostar tractor/trailer driven by Defendant Steven Hodges (“Hodges”). Contine alleges that, when the collision occurred, Hodges was in the course and scope of his employment with Blackhawk Transport, Inc. (“Blackhawk”) and insured by Removing Defendant Great West Casualty Company (“Great West”) (collectively, “Defendants”).[1] On or about August 21, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their Petition for Damages (“Petition”) against Defendants in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge.[2] On September 16, 2019, Great West removed the matter to this Court asserting that this Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.[3]

         Proper information regarding the citizenship of all parties, and the amount in controversy, is necessary to establish the Court’s diversity jurisdiction, as well as to make the determination required under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 regarding whether the case was properly removed to this Court. The Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiffs are domiciliaries of Louisiana, Hodges is a domiciliary of Arizona, Blackhawk is a Wisconsin corporation with its principal place of business in Wisconsin, and Great West is a Nebraska corporation with its principal place of business in Nebraska; therefore, complete diversity of citizenship appears to exist.[4]

         However, it is not clear from the Notice of Removal or the Petition whether Plaintiffs’ claims likely exceed $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.[5] The Petition alleges that Hodges’ vehicle “suddenly, and without warning…veered into the left lane of travel striking the passenger side of Petitioners’ vehicle causing severe and debilitating injuries to their person.”[6] Plaintiffs allege the following injuries:

         X.

         As a consequence of the above enumerated negligence of the Defendants, Plaintiff has sustained the following damages:

a. Physical pain and suffering, past, present and future;
b. Emotional distress and mental anguish, past, present, and future;
c. Medical expenses, past, present, and future;
d. Loss of enjoyment of life;
e. Lost Wages;
f. Loss of Earning Capacity;
g. Rental Expenses;
h. Property ...

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