United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable ANDREW J. GUILFORD
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
[IN CHAMBERS] ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
REMAND (DKT. NO. 15.)
Garfield Beach CVS, LLC (“CVS”) removed this
personal injury dispute to federal court, asserting diversity
jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal, Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff Ruth
Gearing now moves to remand the case to Orange County
Superior Court and to recover attorney's fees. (Motion,
Dkt. No. 15.)
matter is appropriate for resolution without oral argument.
Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 78(b). The hearing and scheduling
conference on July 8, 2019 and all other pending matters are
VACATED. Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
filed this lawsuit in California state court on March 22,
2019, alleging negligence and premises liability. (Compl.,
Dkt. No. 4-1.) Plaintiff states that CVS “negligently
maintained the automatic doors to the store” and that
as a result, the door hit another customer, “causing
him to fall back into Plaintiff.” (Id., 4.)
Plaintiff claims that she then “fell violently onto the
ground, striking her right knee and right side, cracking one
of her ribs.” (Id., 5.)
filed a notice of removal on April 29, 2019, asserting
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Gearing resides in California, and CVS is an LLC with a sole
member residing in Rhode Island (Removal, 3-4.) The parties
don't dispute that Gearing and CVS are diverse. (Mot.,
2.) Rather, they dispute whether the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. (Id.)
Constitution provides in Article III, § 2 that
“[t]he judicial power [of the United States] shall
extend . . . to all Cases . . . between Citizens of different
States.” \Congress has authorized district courts to
exercise jurisdiction over “all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interests and costs, and is between . . .
citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. §
of federalism and judicial economy require courts to
“scrupulously confine their [removal] jurisdiction to
the precise limits which [Congress] has defined.”
See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S.
100, 109 (1941). “Nothing is to be more jealously
guarded by a court than its jurisdiction.” United
States v. Ceja-Prado, 333 F.3d 1046, 1051 (9th Cir.
2003) (citation omitted).“To protect the jurisdiction
of state courts, removal jurisdiction should be strictly
construed in favor of remand.” Padilla v. AT&T
Corp., 697 F.Supp.2d 1156, 1158 (C.D. Cal.
2009); see also Harris v. Bankers Life
and Cas. Co., 425 F.3d 689, 698 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing
Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S.
100, 108-09 (1941)). “Federal jurisdiction must be
rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in
the first instance.” Padilla, 697 F.Supp.2d at
1158 (quoting Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566
(9th Cir. 1992)).
defendant seeking to remove a case to a federal court need
only file a notice of removal “containing a short and
plain statement of the grounds for removal.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1446(a). Ordinarily, “the defendant's
amount-in-controversy allegation should be accepted when not
contested by the plaintiff or questioned by the court.”
Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135
S.Ct. 547, 553 (2014). But if the plaintiff does contest that
allegation, then the Court must find “by the
preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in
controversy exceeds” the jurisdictional threshold.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(B) (emphasis added).
In such cases, “both sides submit proof and the
[district] court decides, by a preponderance of the evidence,
whether the amount-in-controversy requirement has been
satisfied.” Dart Cherokee, 135 S.Ct. at 554
(emphasis added). See also Patel v. Nike Retail Services,
Inc., 58 F.Supp. 3D 1032, 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2014).
AMOUNT IN CONTROVERSY
Complaint states only that this is an unlimited civil action
exceeding $25, 000, and it doesn't otherwise specify the
amount in controversy. See Compl. (Dkt. 17-1) at 1.
Plaintiff seeks hospital and medical expenses and other
compensatory damages according to proof. (Id. ¶
the Court isn't persuaded by either party's arguments
regarding Plaintiff's settlement offer of $75, 001.
See Mot. at 5-6; Opp'n at 3-4. This offer
neither proves nor disproves the actual amount in
controversy, but rather appears to be the product of
cost-conscious litigation strategy. While federal courts in
some cases remand actions based on a plaintiff's
stipulation to seek no more than $75, 000, ...