United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER REMANDING CASE
CHARLES R. BREYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this case, and
therefore REMANDS it to state court.
Robert Gitlin (“Gitlin”) initiated an insurance
claim after his property was among the more than 500 homes
destroyed by the Redwood Valley Complex Fire in October 2017.
Mtn. for Declaratory Relief (dkt. 17) at 2-3. At the time,
Gitlin had a fire insurance policy with Defendant AMCO
Insurance Company (“AMCO”). Id.
AMCO's investigation into Gitlin's losses included
taking a recorded statement, or interview, from Gitlin soon
after the fire occurred. Compl. (dkt. 1 Ex. A) ¶¶
6-8; Def. Opening Brief (dkt.16) at 2. Gitlin subsequently
asked AMCO to provide him with copies of all claim-related
documents pursuant to California Insurance Code §§
2071 and 2071.1, which require that insurers produce copies
of most claim-related documents upon request. Cal. Ins. Code
§ 2071; Compl. ¶ 8. AMCO produced some documents
but refused to turn over a copy of the recorded statement.
Compl. ¶ 8.
brought suit against AMCO in state court, seeking declaratory
and injunctive relief based on violations of California
Insurance Code §§ 2071 and 2071.1. Id.
¶¶ 10-22. Gitlin does not seek damages. Rather, he
asks for a declaration that the recorded interview is either
a “claims-related document” or an
“examination under oath” to which he is
statutorily entitled, injunctive relief consisting of AMCO
producing the recorded interview before it can examine him,
and attorneys' fees. Id. at 6-7. Defendants
removed the case to this Court, asserting that there is
diversity jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal (dkt.
1) at 1, 3-6. There is no other litigation underway between
these parties. Def. Reply to OSC (dkt. 23) at 4.
16, 2019, this Court ordered AMCO to show cause as to why
this suit should not be remanded to state court because of an
inadequate amount in controversy. OSC (dkt. 19) at 3. AMCO
responded. See Def. Reply to OSC. Gitlin also
responded. See Pltf. Reply to OSC (dkt. 24).
defendant who seeks to remove a case to federal court must
file a notice of removal “containing a short and plain
statement of the grounds for removal.” 28 U.S.C. §
1446(a). This “short and plain statement”
requirement mirrors the one found in Rule 8(a)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the general pleading rule
for cases filed in federal court. The use of the same
language is “[b]y design, ” the Supreme Court has
explained: “Congress, by borrowing the familiar
‘short and plain statement' standard from Rule
8(a), intended to ‘simplify the “pleading”
requirements for removal' and to clarify that courts
should ‘apply the same liberal rules to removal
allegations that are applied to other matters of
pleading.'” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co.
v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 553 (2014) (quoting H.R. Rep.
No. 100-889, at 71 (1988)).
issue in this case is diversity jurisdiction. See
Notice of Removal at 1. District courts have subject-matter
jurisdiction over civil cases where (1) the matter “is
between . . . citizens of different States, ” and (2)
the amount in controversy “exceeds the sum or value of
$75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a)(1). Consistent with the framework outlined
above, “[t]he party seeking to invoke the district
court's diversity jurisdiction always bears the burden of
both pleading and proving diversity jurisdiction.”
NewGen LLC v. Safe Cig, LLC, 840 F.3d 606, 613-14
(9th Cir. 2016).
jurisdiction must exist when a case is first filed. A federal
court that is considering whether it has jurisdiction on the
basis of diversity must therefore evaluate “the state
of things at the time of the action brought.”
Rockwell Int'l Corp. v. United States, 549 U.S.
457, 473 (2007) (quoting Mullan v. Torrance, 22 U.S.
537, 539 (1824)). This means examining whether the
parties' citizenship was diverse, and whether the amount
in controversy exceeded $75, 000 at the time the case was
Diversity of Citizenship
jurisdiction requires “complete diversity”:
“each plaintiff must be of a different citizenship from
each defendant.” Grancare, LLC v. Mills ex rel.
Thrower, 889 F.3d 543, 548 (9th Cir. 2018). Plaintiff
Gitlin is a citizen of California, because that is the place
of his domicile. See Compl. ¶ 1. Defendant AMCO
is a citizen of Delaware and Iowa, because it is incorporated
in Delaware and has its principal place of business in Iowa.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1); Pardini Decl. (dkt.
1, Doc. 1-2, Ex. A) ¶ 2. Thus, the parties to this case
are not citizens of the same state. Complete diversity of