United States District Court, D. Nevada
MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case comes before the Court through Defendant Geico Insurance
Company's notice of removal. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff
My-Linh Le filed this action on March 29, 2017, in the Eighth
Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada, alleging
claims against Defendants as Plaintiff's auto
insurer. Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion
to Remand (ECF No. 7), which Defendant opposes (ECF No. 11).
For the reasons discussed herein, the Court grants
following facts are taken from the Complaint (ECF No. 1-1).
Plaintiff alleges that on March 2, 2016, he was involved in
an automobile accident where the other driver
(“Driver”), who was under insured, failed to
follow Nevada's traffic laws. Plaintiff sustained
injuries in excess of the Driver's under insured motorist
insurance policy limits. Plaintiff received a tender up to
that policy limit. Plaintiff has made demands for benefits
under his under insured motor portions of his policy with
Defendant, who failed to provide sufficient compensation.
alleges three claims for breach of contract, breach of the
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and unfair
claims practice in violation of NRS § 686A.310.
Plaintiff seeks general and special damages in excess of $10,
000.00, as well as punitive damages and attorney's fees
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and Congress. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2,
cl. 1; e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state
court may be removed to federal court if the federal court
would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). However, courts strictly construe the removal
statute against removal jurisdiction, and “[f]ederal
jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt
as to the right of removal in the first instance.”
Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.
1992) (emphasis added). The party seeking removal bears the
burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Durham v.
Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir.
establish subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to diversity
of citizenship, the party asserting jurisdiction must show:
(1) complete diversity of citizenship among opposing parties
and (2) an amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000.00. 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a). Where a defendant removes a
plaintiff's state action on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction, the defendant must either: (1) demonstrate that
it is facially evident from the plaintiff's complaint
that the plaintiff seeks in excess of $75, 000.00, or (2)
prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in
controversy meets the jurisdictional limit. Valdez v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2004). In
considering what evidence may be considered under (2) above,
the Ninth Circuit has adopted the “practice of
considering facts presented in the removal petition as well
as any ‘summary- judgement-type evidence relevant to
the amount in controversy at the time of removal.'”
Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d
1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Singer v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th Cir. 1997)).
jurisdictional purposes, the amount in controversy is
determined by the amount at stake in the underlying
litigation. Theis Research, Inc. v. Brown &
Bain, 400 F.3d 659, 662 (9th Cir. 2005). In determining
the amount in controversy, a district court may consider the
amount of compensatory and punitive damages recoverable based
on plaintiff's complaint as well as attorney fees, but
may not consider interest and cost of suit. Meisel v.
Allstate Indem. Co., 357 F.Supp.2d 1222, 1225 (citing
Hunt v. Wash. State Apple. Adver. Comm'n, 432
U.S. 333, 347-48 (1977)).
states that “Plaintiff has never expressly asserted
that the value of her claim exceeds $75, 000.00 as required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1332.” (ECF No. 7 at 2.) According
to Plaintiff, he incurred about $30, 877 in medical expenses,
the Driver's auto insurance policy tendered the under
insured policy limit of $15, 000.00, and Plaintiff's
under insured motorist coverage with Defendant carries a
limit of $50, 000.00. (Id. at 2.) Defendant counters
that the allegations in the Complaint demonstrate that
Plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $75, 000.00. Defendant
argues that the jurisdictional limit is reached by adding up
the total for the three claims: $50, 000.00 for the breach of
contract claim; and a total of $30, 000.00 (based upon the
state district court's jurisdictional limit now exceeding
$15, 000.00) for the remaining two claims.
arguments are premised more on speculation than on a specific
showing of a disputed amount over $75, 000.00. The
allegations in the Complaint do not support Defendant's
arguments. Plaintiff does not seek $50, 000.00 in damages for
the breach of contract claim. The only amount indicated in
the Complaint is an amount in excess of $10, 000.00. Against
this backdrop, the Court is mindful that it “cannot
base [its] jurisdiction on defendant's speculation and
conjecture.” Lowderkmilk v. U.S. Bank Nat'l
Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 1002 (9th Cir. 2007).
must overcome a “strong presumption” against
removal jurisdiction. See Gaus, 980 F.2d at 567. The
Court must be provided with the tools necessary to evaluate
whether Defendant has met its burden, and must do so as part
of its continual duty to establish its own jurisdiction.
See United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed
Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004). Based on the
record before it, the Court holds that it does not have
jurisdiction to hear this claim.