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Esacove v. Walendowski

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 21, 2009

LARRY ESACOVE, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND AIDA ESACOVE, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALFRED WALENDOWSKI, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND DOES 1 - 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: R. Gary Klausner United States District Judge

ORDER REMANDING CIVIL ACTION TO SUPERIOR COURT

On April 15, 2009, Defendant Alfred Walendowski ("Defendant") removed this action from Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles, to the United States District Court for the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. On April 28, 2009, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause Re Lack of Jurisdiction ("OSC"), which required Defendant to submit evidence establishing that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the matter. Defendant timely responded to the OSC.

For the following reasons, the Court finds that it does not have jurisdiction over this matter. In order for a federal court to exercise diversity jurisdiction over a civil action, the amount in controversy must exceed $75,000, exclusive of interests and costs.*fn1 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Generally, there is a strong presumption against removal jurisdiction, such that the defendant "has the burden of establishing that removal is proper." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing Nishimoto v. Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 903 F.2d 709, 712 n. 3 (9th Cir. 1990)). When it is unclear whether the plaintiff seeks damages exceeding the jurisdictional requirement, "the defendant must provide evidence establishing that it is 'more likely than not' that the amount in controversy exceeds [the jurisdictional requirement]." Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996).

Here, the Court finds that Defendant has not met his burden of showing that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional requirement of $75,000. Since it is unclear from the Complaint whether Plaintiffs seek damages exceeding $75,000, Defendant must provide evidence showing that it is more likely than not that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Defendant has not met his burden because he merely speculates as to the amount in controversy without providing any evidence supporting his contention that the amount in controversy requirement has been met.

In light of the foregoing, the above-entitled case is ordered remanded to Superior Court for all further proceedings for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.


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