United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a motion to remand [doc. # 17] filed by
plaintiff Dianna Bell. The motion is opposed. [doc. # 19].
For reasons set forth below, the motion [doc. # 17] is
March 15, 2019, Dianna Bell filed the instant petition for
damages against defendants, Dolgencorp, L.L.C.; Dollar
General Corporation; and TLT&J Enterprises, L.L.C., in
the 11th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Sabine,
State of Louisiana. See Petition. Bell alleged that
on March 27, 2018, she was shopping at the Dollar General
Store in Zwolle, Louisiana, when she slipped/tripped and fell
because of merchandise and/or items on the floor.
Id., ¶¶ 3-4.
about April 22, 2019, DG Louisiana, L.L.C.
(“DG-LA”) filed an answer to the suit whereby it
effectively substituted itself as defendant in lieu of the
“incorrectly sued” Dolgencorp, L.L.C. and Dollar
General Corporation. (Answer; Notice of Removal, Exh. B). On
May 16, 2019, on joint motion of plaintiff and DG-LA, the
state court formally dismissed defendants, Dolgencorp,
L.L.C.; Dollar General Corporation; and TLT&J
Enterprises, L.L.C. [doc. # 6-1].
31, 2019, the lone remaining defendant, DG-LA, removed this
matter to federal court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Notice of Removal). On
September 5, 2019, the court reviewed the record and noted
that DG-LA had failed to properly allege the citizenship of
its member(s). (Sept. 5, 2019, Order [doc. # 7]).
Accordingly, the court granted defendant leave to file an
amended notice of removal to establish diversity
jurisdiction. On September 10, 2019, DG-LA filed an amended
notice of removal, which established that plaintiff was a
Louisiana citizen and that DG-LA was a limited liability
company comprised of one member that was a Tennessee
corporation, with its principal place of business in said
state. (Amend. Notice of Removal [doc. # 8]). Accordingly, at
the time of removal, the parties were completely diverse.
in the absence of a timely challenge by plaintiff to the
court's jurisdiction, the undersigned accepted
defendant's allegation regarding amount in controversy,
but noted that the finding was preliminary, and subject to
reconsideration either sua sponte or by motion. See
E-Jur. Review Finding [doc. # 9]. Indeed, “a
defendant's notice of removal need include only a
plausible allegation that the amount in controversy exceeds
the jurisdictional threshold.” Dart Cherokee Basin
Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 574 U.S. 81, 87, 135 S.Ct.
547, 553 (2014).
October 3, 2019, with the consent of all parties, the
District Court referred this matter to the undersigned
magistrate judge for the conduct of all further proceedings
and the entry of judgment, 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). [doc. #
October 31, 2019, plaintiff filed the instant motion to
remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis
that the amount in controversy does not exceed the
jurisdictional minimum. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). In
conjunction with her motion, plaintiff's attorney signed
a “binding” stipulation on plaintiff's behalf
stating that “[t]he damages she has suffered, and the
amount in controversy in this matter does not exceed $75, 000
excluding interest and cost.” (Pl. Stipulation;
M/Remand, Exh.). The stipulation also released defendant
“from any and all damages and claim for other matters
which arguably would create an amount in controversy in
excess of $75, 000.00 exclusive of interest and cost.”
filed its opposition to remand on November 21, 2019. [doc. #
19]. Plaintiff did not file a reply, and the time to do so
has lapsed. See Notice of Motion Setting [doc. #
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
omitted). The removal statutes are strictly construed in
favor of remand. Manguno, supra.
case, DG-LA invoked the court's subject matter
jurisdiction via diversity, which requires complete diversity
of citizenship between plaintiff and defendant, and an amount
in controversy greater than $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). Plaintiff does not dispute that the parties are
completely diverse; rather, she contests that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.
to the Federal Courts Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification
Act of 2011 (“JVCA”), the ...