United States District Court, D. Nevada
MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Vicente Gurerrero sued Defendant Panda Express, Inc., after
he slipped, fell, and was injured in one of their restaurants
in Las Vegas, Nevada. (ECF No. 1-2.) Defendant removed the
case to this Court. (ECF No. 1.) Before the Court is
Plaintiff's motion to remand because the amount in
controversy does not exceed the $75, 000 jurisdictional
threshold (the “Motion”). (ECF No. 8.) Because
Defendant has failed to carry its burden to show the amount
in controversy requirement is satisfied-specifically because
Plaintiff's settlement demands do not appear to reflect a
reasonable estimate of Plaintiff's claim-the Court will
grant Plaintiff's Motion and remand this case to the
Eighth Judicial District Court.
following allegations come from the Complaint. (ECF No. 1-2.)
was a patron at a Panda Express restaurant in Las Vegas,
Nevada. (Id. at 2.) On his way out, he slipped and
fell on a wet patch of floor. (Id.) There were no
signs or other warnings of a wet floor. (Id.) He was
injured by the slip and fall. (Id.) /// Plaintiff
filed his Complaint in the Eighth Judicial District Court in
and for the County of Clark (ECF No. 1-2 at 1), and Defendant
removed based on diversity jurisdiction (ECF No. 1 at 1).
asserts the following claims in the Complaint: (1)
negligence; (2) negligent hiring, training, supervision, and
retention; and (3) “Respondent Superior[.] [sic]”
(ECF No. 1-2 at 2-4.) Plaintiff seeks general and special
damages, and attorneys' fees. (Id. at 4.)
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having
subject-matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by
the Constitution and Congress. See U.S. Const. art.
III, § 2, cl. 1; see also, 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 at commencement of the action.
See 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. See Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp.,
445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006).
establish subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to diversity
of citizenship under § 1332(a), the party asserting
jurisdiction must show: (1) complete diversity of citizenship
among opposing parties and (2) an amount in controversy
exceeding $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Where it is not facially evident from the complaint that $75,
000 was in controversy at the time of removal, a defendant
seeking removal must prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that the amount in controversy requirement is met.
See Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117
(9th Cir. 2004).
preponderance of the evidence standard, a removing defendant
must “provide evidence establishing that it is
‘more likely than not' that the amount in
controversy exceeds” the jurisdictional minimum.
Id. at 1117 (citations omitted). As to the kind of
evidence that may be considered, the Ninth Circuit has
adopted the “practice of considering facts presented in
the removal petition as well as any
‘summary-judgment-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)).
Conclusory allegations are insufficient. See
Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090 (citation omitted).
does not request a specific amount of damages in the
Complaint, instead alleging both general and special damages
in excess of $15, 000. (See generally ECF No. 1-2.)
Thus, Defendant must prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that the amount in controversy requirement is
satisfied. See Valdez, 372 F.3d at 1117.
Defendant has not made this showing.
argues removal was proper because Plaintiff demanded $100,
000 to settle this case in three separate demand
letters. (ECF No. 9 at 2.) Plaintiff counters in
relevant part that a settlement letter is relevant evidence
of the amount in controversy only if it appears to reflect a
reasonable estimate of the plaintiff's claim. (ECF No. 11
at 4 (relying on Cohen v. Petsmart, 281 F.3d 837,
839 (9th Cir. 2002).) Because his $100, 000 demand was not a
reasonable estimate of his claim, as he incurred only $17,
651.92 in medical expenses and is no longer seeking
treatment, Plaintiff ...