United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND RE:
DKT. NO. 9
A. WESTMORE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
April 5, 2019, Plaintiff Darcie Layhee filed the instant suit
against Defendant Bogdan-Cristian Fratila in San Francisco
County Superior Court, alleging personal injury based on an
October 14, 2018 vehicle accident. (Not. of Removal, Exh. A
(âCompl.â) at 4-5, Dkt. No. 1.) On September 13, 2019,
Defendant removed the case to federal court. (Not. of Removal
before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to remand the case
to state court. (Pl.'s Mot. to Remand, Dkt. No. 9.) The
Court deems the matter suitable for disposition without
hearing pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), and VACATES the
November 21, 2019 hearing. Having considered the parties'
filings and relevant legal authority, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's motion to remand.
October 14, 2018, Defendant was driving a rental car on
California State Route 152. (Pl.'s Mot. to Remand at 2.)
Plaintiff was operating a motorcycle behind Defendant.
Defendant allegedly “made an unexpected U-turn into the
acceleration lane, ” causing Plaintiff to collide with
his vehicle. (Id.) Plaintiff suffered significant
injuries, including a below-knee amputation. (Id.)
April 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed this case against Defendant in
state court, alleging claims for motor vehicle and general
negligence. (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff marked the action as
“an unlimited civil case (exceeds $25, 000).”
(Id. at 1 (all caps omitted).) Plaintiff asserted
that she “sustained injuries to her head, body and
limbs, all to her damage in a sum that is unknown . . .
.” (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff claimed wage loss,
loss of use of property, hospital and medical expenses,
general damage, property damage, loss of earnings capacity,
and prejudgment interest. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff
sought compensatory damages according to proof.
24, 2019, Plaintiff sent Defendant a “case
overview” packet that contained a photograph of
Plaintiff in the hospital bed after her amputation. (Smith
Decl. ¶ 5, Dkt. No. 9.) On July 19, 2019, Plaintiff
served responses to written discovery requests, stating that
Plaintiff's injuries included a left leg amputation, a
left leg femur fracture, facial and arm injuries, kidney
pyelonephritis, urinary incontinence, and reoccurring urinary
tract infections. (Smith Decl. ¶ 6a.) The discovery
responses also indicated that Plaintiff would need lifelong
ongoing prosthetic leg fittings, and that she would be
claiming the value of home nursing services. (Smith Decl.
¶ 6d.) On August 2, 2019, Plaintiff filed a case
management conference statement, which stated:
“Plaintiff sustained a traumatic below-knee amputation
requiring multiple surgeries, a left femur fracture, and
multiple lacerations, contusions, and abrasions.
Plaintiff's medical specials exceed $50, 000.00 and
continue to mount.” (Smith Decl. ¶ 7, Exh. D at
August 13, 2019, Plaintiff sent Defendant a California Code
of Civil Procedure § 998 statutory offer to compromise
for $2 million. (Smith Decl. ¶ 9.) On August 16, 2019,
Defendant received the offer. (Not. of Removal ¶ 9.) On
September 13, 2019, Defendant removed the case based on
diversity jurisdiction. (Not. of Removal at 1.)
then filed the instant motion to remand based on the
timeliness of removal. (Pl.'s Mot. to Remand at 2.) On
October 25, 2019, Defendant filed his opposition. (Def.'s
Opp'n, Dkt. No. 12.) On October 31, 2019, Plaintiff filed
her reply. (Pl.'s Reply, Dkt. No. 14.)
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). “It is to be presumed that a cause
lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of
establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting
jurisdiction.” Id. Thus, the removal statute
is strictly construed against removal, and “[f]ederal
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) (internal
argues that remand is necessary because Defendant's
removal was untimely, as Defendant should have known the case
was worth over $75, 000 more than thirty days prior to
removal. (Pl.'s Mot. to Remand at 2.) The Court agrees.
general, “[t]he mechanics and requirements for removal
are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1446. Section 1446(b)
identifies two thirty-day periods for removing a case.”
Kuxhausen v. BMW Fin. Servs. NA LLC, 707 F.3d 1136,
1139 (9th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation omitted). The first
thirty-day removal period is triggered if federal
jurisdiction is clear from the initial pleading. Carvalho
v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 629 F.3d 876, 885 (9th
Cir. 2010). “The second thirty-day removal period is
triggered if the initial pleading does not indicate that a
case is removable, and the defendant receives ‘a copy
of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper'
from which removability may first be ascertained.”
Id. (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b).) While a
defendant “need not ...