IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 14, 2009
RONALD M. GRASSI AND SALLY GRASSI, PLAINTIFFS,
MOODY'S INVESTOR'S SERVICES, STANDARD AND POOR'S AND FITCH RATINGS, DEFENDANTS.
This case came before the court on May 1, 2009, for hearing of plaintiffs' March 11, 2009 motion to remand the case to the Placer County Superior Court (Doc. No. 18). Plaintiffs Ronald M. Grassi and Sally Grassi, proceeding pro se, appeared on their own behalf. Keith Eggleton appeared for defendant Moody's Investors Services. David Biderman appeared on behalf of defendant Standard & Poor's and The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Jayesh Hines-Shah appeared for defendant Fitch Ratings.
For the reasons set forth on the record at the hearing, plaintiffs' motion for remand (Doc. No. 18) was denied. In this regard, the court recognized that because of the strong presumption against removal jurisdiction, the removing defendants bore the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy in this case exceeds $75,000. See Valdez v. Allstate Insurance Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004); Sanchez v. Monumental Life Insurance Co., 102 F.3d 398, 403-04 (9th Cir. 1996). Nonetheless, in this case where plaintiffs allege fraud and seek $40,000 in compensatory damages as well as unspecified punitive damages, the court concluded that defendants had demonstrated that it is facially apparent that plaintiffs likely seek more than $75,000 in connection with their claims. See Piazza v. EMPI, Inc., No. 1:07-cv-00954-OWW-GSA, 2008 WL 590494, *14 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 29, 2008) (citing Luckett v. Delta Airlines, Inc., 171 F.3d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1999).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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