United States District Court, C.D. California
Graham Plumbing & Drain Cleaning, Inc.
Colony Ins. Co.
Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
IN CHAMBERS - ORDER
the Court is a Motion to Remand filed by plaintiff Graham
Plumbing & Drain Cleaning, Inc. (“Plaintiff”)
(Docket No. 9). Plaintiff filed the Motion on July 10, 2019,
and set the hearing on the Motion for July 29, 2019. That
hearing date, which is only 19 days after the Motion was
filed, violates Local Rule 6-1, which requires a minimum of
28 days notice. Defendant Colony Insurance Company
(“Defendant”) filed a timely Opposition.
Plaintiff did not file a timely Reply. See Local
Rule 7-12 (“The Court may decline to consider any
memorandum or other document not filed within the deadline
set by order or local rule. The failure to file any required
document, or the failure to file it within the deadline, may
be deemed consent to the granting or denial of the motion . .
. .”). Pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and Local Rule 7-15, the Court finds that
this matter is appropriate for decision without oral
argument. The hearing calendared for July 29, 2019, is
vacated, and the matter taken off calendar.
Motion to Remand, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant's
Notice of Removal did not satisfy Defendant's burden to
establish the amount in controversy required for the Court to
exercise diversity jurisdiction over this action. The Notice
of Removal alleges: “As set forth below, this is a
civil action between citizens of different states wherein the
amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interests and costs.” (Notice of Removal
¶ 4.) Although the Notice of Removal contains facts
concerning the citizenship of the parties, it does not
contain any facts or allegations concerning the amount in
controversy. According to the Complaint, however, which is
attached as an Exhibit to the Notice of Removal, Plaintiff
seeks damages for its breach of contract claim in the amount
of $61, 793.54. Plaintiff's Complaint also contains a
claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair
dealing, through which Plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount
of punitive damages and attorneys' fees.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over those matters authorized by the
Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen
v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct.
1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A suit filed in state court may
be removed to federal court if the federal court would have
had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state court if
the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c). “The burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal, and the
removal statute is strictly construed against removal
jurisdiction.” Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix (U.S.)
Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999).
“Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any
doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992).
invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction, Defendant
must prove that there is complete diversity of citizenship
between the parties and that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. When determining the
amount in controversy, the Court must assume that the
allegations in the complaint are true and that a jury will
return a verdict in the plaintiff's favor on all of the
claims in the complaint. See Kenneth Rothschild Tr. v.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 199 F.Supp.2d 993, 1001
(C.D. Cal. 2002). “The ultimate inquiry is what amount
is put ‘in controversy' by the plaintiff's
complaint, not what a defendant will actually
owe.” Korn v. Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., 536
F.Supp.2d 1199, 1205 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (emphasis in original);
see also Rippee v. Boston Market Corp., 408
F.Supp.2d 982, 986 (S.D. Cal. 2005). When an action has been
removed and the amount in controversy is in doubt, there is a
“strong presumption” that the plaintiff has not
claimed an amount sufficient to confer jurisdiction.
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566 (citing St. Paul Mercury
Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288-90, 58
S.Ct. 586, 82 L.Ed. 845 (1938)). “[T]he
amount-in-controversy inquiry in the removal context is not
confined to the face of the complaint.” Valdez v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004).
“When not facially evident from the complaint that more
than $75, 000 is in controversy, the removing party must
prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in
controversy meets the jurisdictional threshold.”
Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d
1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). “Under this burden, the
defendant must provide evidence establishing that it is
‘more likely than not' that the amount in
controversy exceeds [$75, 000].” Sanchez v.
Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir.
damages are unstated in a complaint, or, in the
defendant's view are understated, the defendant seeking
removal bears the burden to show by a preponderance of the
evidence that the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds
[the statutory minimum] when federal jurisdiction is
challenged. . . . [A] defendant cannot establish removal
jurisdiction by mere speculation and conjecture, with
unreasonable assumptions.” Ibarra v. Manheim Invs.,
Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1197 (9th Cir. 2015).
“Conclusory allegations as to the amount in controversy
are insufficient.” Matheson, 319 F.3d at
based on the allegations contained in the Complaint, the
Court concludes that Defendant has satisfied its burden to
establish that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000 by
a preponderance of the evidence. As a result, the Court
possesses diversity ...