United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER REMANDING CASE TO STATE COURT
P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance removed this case on
the basis of diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1. Because it
did not appear that the amount in controversy requirement was
satisfied, I ordered Allstate to show cause why this matter
should not be remanded. ECF No. 4. Allstate responds that the
value of this case exceeds $75, 000 because the plaintiff has
demanded $60, 000 to settle his breach of contract claims,
has asserted claims for bad faith and statutory violations,
and requests punitive damages and attorney's fees.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Owen Equip.
& Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978).
“A federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a
particular case unless the contrary affirmatively
appears.” Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes
of the Colville Res., 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th
Cir. 1989). “Federal 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). Courts “strictly construe the
removal statute against removal jurisdiction.”
Id. “The ‘strong presumption'
against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always
has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.”
Id. Remand is required if the court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
cases where a plaintiff's state court complaint does not
specify a particular amount of damages, the removing
defendant bears the burden of establishing, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy
exceeds [$75, 000]. Under this burden, the defendant must
provide evidence establishing that it is ‘more likely
than not' that the amount in controversy exceeds that
amount.” Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co.,
102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996). Broad allegations that the
jurisdictional amount is met, “‘although
attempting to recite some ‘magical incantation,'
neither overcome[ ] the ‘strong presumption'
against removal jurisdiction, nor satisf[y][the
defendant]'s burden of setting forth, in the removal
petition itself, the underlying facts supporting its
assertion that the amount in controversy exceeds” $75,
000. Abrego Abrego v. The Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d
676, 689 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Gaus, 980 F.2d at
567, emphasis omitted).
a complaint is unclear as to the total amount of damages
sought, but alleges only upper or lower limits or types of
damages, a district court is free in its
preponderance-of-the-evidence analysis to make estimations of
the amount of damages that could be obtained consistent with
the vague wording of the complaint.” Elliker v.
Contractors Bonding & Ins. Co.,
3:12-v-00438-RCJ-WGC, 2013 WL 757621, at *1 (D. Nev. Feb. 27,
2013) (citing Guglielmino v. McKee Foods Corp., 506
F.3d 696, 700-01 (9th Cir. 2007)). The Eleventh Circuit Court
of Appeals has held that in making such analyses, district
courts can make “reasonable deductions, reasonable
inferences, or other reasonable extrapolations from the
pleadings to determine whether it is facially apparent that a
case is removable, ” and “may use their judicial
experience and common sense in determining whether the case
stated in a complaint meets federal jurisdictional
requirements.” Roe v. Michelin N. Am., Inc.,
613 F.3d 1058, 1061-1062 (11th Cir. 2010) (quotation
omitted). This approach is consistent with the Supreme
Court's holding in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that
“[determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief . . . requires the reviewing court to draw
on its judicial experience and common sense.” 556 U.S.
662, 679 (2009); see also Roe, 613 F.3d at 1062,
there is considerable doubt as to Allstate's right to
remove this case because it appears unlikely that the
plaintiff can satisfy this court's jurisdictional
threshold. The plaintiff has identified $710.00 in medical
bills and $57, 103.02 in lost wages. ECF No. 5 at 9. The
plaintiff recovered $11, 249.96 from the tortfeasor.
Id. There is no evidence of a recommendation for
surgery or other future treatment. Based on my judicial,
legal, and practical experience and common sense, Allstate
has not met its burden of showing that the amount in
controversy meets federal jurisdictional requirements.
Roe, 613 F.3d at 1061-1062; Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although this case presents a close question when the
possibility of punitive damages is considered, “any
doubt is resolved against removability.” Luther v.
Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, 533 F.3d 1031, 1034
(9th Cir. 2008). I therefore remand this action to state
THEREFORE ORDERED that this case is remanded to the state
court from which it was removed for all further proceedings.