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Sklar v. Orchard Supply Co., LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

March 20, 2017

RUBEN SKLAR, Plaintiff,
v.
ORCHARD SUPPLY COMPANY, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND RE: DKT. NO. 14

          EDWARD J. DAVILA United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Ruben Sklar moves to remand this case to Santa Clara County Superior Court, arguing that the amount in controversy is less than $75, 000 and that removal was untimely. Sklar's motion will be DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Sklar bought a barbecue grill from Defendant Orchard Supply Company, LLC. Pl.'s Mot. to Remand (“Mot.”) at 2, Dkt. No. 14. Orchard's employees assembled it and loaded it into Sklar's truck. Id. at 2-3. Back home, as Sklar tried to unload the grill, it slipped and “sliced his thumb, rupturing his tendon and damaging his radial nerve.” Id. at 3.

         Sklar filed a complaint in Santa Clara County Superior Court in March of 2016. Notice of Removal Ex. A, Dkt. No 1. Sklar also served a statement of damages indicating that he seeks to recover $840, 000 for (1) past medical expenses, (2) future medical expenses, and (3) pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Notice of Removal Ex. E at 1. Orchard removed to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.[1] Id. at 3-6. Sklar moves to remand.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Removal Jurisdiction

         A case may be removed to federal court if it (1) raises a federal question or (2) is between citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1332. Defendants have the burden of showing that removal was proper. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.3d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Courts must strictly construe the removal statute against removal. Ethridge v. Harbor House Rest., 861 F.2d 1389, 1393 (9th Cir. 1988). Cases should be remanded if there is any doubt about the existence of federal jurisdiction. Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566.

         B. Timeliness of Removal

         A defendant has 30 days to file a notice of removal after receiving “an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. The amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.

         About five months after filing his complaint, Sklar served a statement of damages on Orchard, which indicated that he seeks damages of $60, 000 for past medical expenses, $30, 000 for future medical expenses, and $750, 000 for pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Notice of Removal Ex. E at 1. Thirty days later, Orchard removed to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Id.; Mot. at 2.

         Sklar now argues that removal was improper because the damages statement does not, in fact, reflect the amount he actually seeks to recover. Mot. at 4-7. According to Sklar, there is “nothing in the statement of damages to indicate its reliability.” Mot. at 7. He calls it “unrealistic, ” “uncertain, ” ...


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