United States District Court, D. Nevada
JOHN L. RODOPHELE JR., Plaintiff,
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY et al., Defendants.
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY CASE SHOULD NOT BE REMANDED
TO STATE COURT
RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 12, 2019, the Court found that the Petition for Removal
(ECF No. 1) did not adequately establish the amount in
controversy and ordered Defendant to show cause why the Court
should not remand the case to state court. The Court has
reviewed Defendant's Response and Supplemented Petition
(ECF Nos. 10, 11), Plaintiff's Opposition (ECF No. 12),
and Defendant's Reply (ECF No. 14).
Court continues to find the amount in controversy
inadequately established and therefore remands this case to
sued Defendant on January 28, 2019 in the Eighth Judicial
District Court of Nevada, claiming injuries resulting from
Plaintiff falling in Defendant's retail store. In the
complaint, Plaintiff seeks general damages in an amount
exceeding $15, 000, special damages, economic damages, costs
and interests, and attorney's fees.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. In re
Hunter, 66 F.3d 1002, 1005 (9th Cir. 1995). A federal
court therefore has a sua sponte obligation to
ensure that it has subject matter jurisdiction. Kwai Fun
Wong v. Beebe, 732 F.3d 1030, 1036 (9th Cir. 2013)
(citations omitted); see also Gonzalez v. Thaler,
565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012) (“When a requirement goes to
subject-matter jurisdiction, courts are obligated to consider
sua sponte issues that the parties have disclaimed
or have not presented.”). Indeed, “subject matter
jurisdiction can never be waived or forfeited.”
Gonzalez, 565 U.S. at 134.
defendant may remove a case initially filed in state court to
federal court if the federal court would have had original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). When a case is
removed solely under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), all defendants
that have been properly joined and served must either join
in, or consent to, removal. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2).
and subject matter jurisdiction statutes are strictly
construed, and a defendant seeking removal has the burden to
establish that removal is proper and any doubt is resolved
against removability.” Hawaii ex rel. Louie v. HSBC
Bank Nev., N.A., 761 F.3d 1027, 1034 (9th Cir. 2014)
(citation and quotation marks omitted). A federal court
should remand a case to state court if any doubt exists as to
the right to removal. Matheson v. Progressive Specialty
Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (footnote
omitted). Further, when “it is unclear or ambiguous
from the face of a state-court complaint whether the
requisite amount in controversy is pled, the removing
defendant bears the burden of establishing, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy
exceeds the jurisdictional threshold.” Urbino v.
Orkin Servs. of California, Inc., 726 F.3d 1118, 1121-22
(9th Cir. 2013).
courts have original jurisdiction over actions where the
matter in controversy is greater than $75, 000 if there is
complete diversity between the plaintiff and each defendant.
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Speculation regarding the amount in
controversy is insufficient to establish removal jurisdiction
on the grounds of diversity. See Corral v. Select
Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 878 F.3d 770, 774 (9th Cir.
2017); see also Ibarra v. Manheim Investments, Inc.,
775 F.3d 1193, 1197 (9th Cir. 2015). The Ninth Circuit
defines “amount in controversy” as “the
amount at stake in the underlying litigation” which
includes “any result of the litigation, excluding
interests and costs, that entails a payment by the
defendant.” Gonzales v. CarMax Auto Superstores,
LLC, 840 F.3d 644, 648 (9th Cir. 2016) (internal
quotations omitted). “This amount includes, inter
alia, damages (compensatory, punitive, or otherwise) and
the cost of complying with an injunction, as well as
attorneys' fees awarded under fee shifting
statutes.” Id at 648-49.
considering all filings in response to the Court's Order
to Show Cause, the Court finds Defendant has failed to
adequately establish the amount in controversy required for
diversity jurisdiction. The Court finds that the alleged
medical damages in this case are approximately $56, 740.79
and that Plaintiff has already received $25, 000 from a
separate policy payment, leaving only $31, 740.79 in medical
damages liability for Defendant, well below the $75, 000
argues that because Plaintiff requested the full $250, 000
amount under the policy, this full policy amount is the
amount in controversy. While the Court agrees that it is
possible Plaintiff would seek this amount in litigation, it
is not remotely evident on the face of Plaintiffs complaint.
Defendant has not met its burden by a preponderance of the
evidence, and because any ...