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Smith v. At&T Mobility Services, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 14, 2014

JEVON SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
AT&T MOBILITY SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.

ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

DEAN D. PREGERSON, District Judge.

On February 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court asserting various causes of action arising from the termination of his employment with Defendant. Defendant removed the action to this court on April 8, 2014 on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. It appears, however, that there is no federal subject matter jurisdiction in this action because the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000.

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger , 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). Federal district courts have "original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Alternatively, district courts may exercise diversity jurisdiction when there is complete diversity between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Complete diversity means that each of the plaintiffs must be a citizen of a different state than each of the defendants. Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis , 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996).

As the removing party, Defendant bears the burden of proving federal jurisdiction. Duncan v. Stuetzle , 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996); see also Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co. , 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). The removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction, and federal jurisdiction must be rejected if any doubt exists as to the propriety of removal. Gaus v. Miles, Inc. , 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Title 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) gives a federal court authority to remand a case to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Courts resolve doubts as to removability in favor of remand. Gaus , 980 F.2d at 566.

Here, Defendant asserts that this court has jurisdiction over the action on the basis of diversity under § 1332. Plaintiff does not specify in his Complaint the amount he seeks under his claims. Defendant contends that the jurisdictional requirement of $75, 000 is met based in part on the allegation that Plaintiff's annual earnings were $28, 704 and the assumption that the matter will not reach trial for 36 months, resulting in potential lost wages of $86, 112.00. (See Notice of Removal ¶ 15.) Having conferred with the parties concerning the matter, the court finds the basis for removal speculative and is not convinced that the jurisdictional threshold is met.

Accordingly, the court REMANDS this action to Los Angeles County Superior Court.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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