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Bailey v. CEC Entertainment Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

September 26, 2019

SEFERA BAILEY
v.
CEC ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

          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 Sefera Bailey (“Plaintiff”) in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.[1] Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on September 3, 2018, while patronizing a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, she slipped and fell on a wet surface while walking to the restroom (the “Accident”).[2] Plaintiff alleges that the Accident was caused by the fault and negligence of the owner and operator of the restaurant, Defendant CEC Entertainment, Inc. (“CEC”), because CEC created, inter alia, an unreasonably dangerous condition.[3]

         On or about August 28, 2019, Plaintiff filed her Petition for Damages (“Petition”) against CEC in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge.[4] On September 25, 2019, CEC removed the matter to this Court asserting that this Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.[5]

         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 Plaintiff is a domiciliary of Louisiana and CEC is a Kansas corporation with its principal place of business in Texas; therefore, complete diversity of citizenship appears to exist.[6]

         It is not clear from the Notice of Removal or the Petition whether Plaintiff’s claims likely exceed $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.[7] The Petition alleges Plaintiff’s injuries as follows:

The Petitioner has suffered the following damages arising from negligence of Racetrac (sic):
A. Pain/Suffering-Physical, past, present, and future;
B. Pain/Suffering-Mental, past, present, and future;
C. Loss of Enjoyment of Life, past, present, and future;
D. Aggravation of pre-existing condition;
E. Medical Expenses-Past/Present/Future, and
F. Permanent Disability.[8]

         Plaintiff also seeks “judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against defendant for all sums as are reasonable given the premise set forth herein, ” as well as interest and court costs.[9]

         In the Notice of Removal, CEC alleges that, on September 18, 2019, it submitted correspondence and a proposed Irrevocable Stipulation and Agreement (the “Stipulation”) to Plaintiff’s counsel in order to clarify the amount in controversy.[10] CEC contends that it requested for Plaintiff to consider the proposed Stipulation, indicating that Plaintiff’s damages do not exceed $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, “and that, if Plaintiff did not respond to or execute the proposed Stipulation, CEC would continue to rely upon the face of the [Petition] suggesting that the amount in controversy was in excess of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. Plaintiff[’s] counsel and counsel for CEC conferred, and counsel for Plaintiff refused to sign the Stipulation, contending that Plaintiff’s injuries put more than $75, 000 in controversy….”[11] According to CEC, Plaintiff’s claims for damages cited above, Plaintiff’s refusal to sign the ...


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