IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
February 2, 2012
HICA EDUCATION LOAN CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
JAMES C. ADAMS, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge
On February 2, 2012, this matter was before the undersigned for a status (pretrial scheduling) conference.*fn1 Attorney Leland Moglen, who is not counsel of record in this case, "specially" appeared on plaintiff's behalf. Defendant, who is proceeding without counsel, appeared and represented himself.
At the scheduling conference, the undersigned raised sua sponte a concern regarding the existence of proper federal subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim.*fn2 The parties' Joint Initial Status Report asserts that this court can exercise diversity jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). (Joint Initial Status report at 2, Dkt. No. 8.) However, upon review of the complaint, and particularly after comparing the seemingly contradictory allegations in paragraphs 5 and 11, the court cannot presently conclude that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. (Compare Compl. ¶ 5 (indicating a total principal loan amount of $43,889), with id. ¶ 11 (indicating a total principal loan amount of $91,538.47).) Accordingly, it is unclear whether diversity jurisdiction is proper. Although the undersigned asked Mr. Moglen about the apparent discrepancy, it was clear that Mr. Moglen knew nothing about the substance of plaintiff's claim and was thus of no assistance. The court cautions plaintiff's counsel, John D. Guerrini of the Guerrini Law Firm, that if he again sends a representative as unprepared and uninformed to appear before the undersigned, Mr. Guerrini will be personally sanctioned. Mr. Moglen was similarly warned at the conference.
Accordingly, as indicated at the scheduling conference, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that on or before February 10, 2012, plaintiff shall file with the court, and serve on plaintiff, a statement of damages or other statement substantiating that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, or stating some other basis for this court's subject matter jurisdiction.*fn3
IT IS SO ORDERED.