United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable GEORGE H. WU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND 
hears oral argument. The Tentative circulated and attached
hereto, is adopted as the Court's Final Ruling. The Court
would GRANT the Motion and would remand this case to the Los
Angeles County Superior Court.
Ruling on Motion to Remand.
27, 2019 Kimberly Bailey ("Plaintiff) filed this action
in the Los Angeles County Superior Court asserting claims for
general negligence and premises liability against Extended
Stay America, Inc. ("Defendant"). See
generally Complaint ("Complaint"), Docket No.
1-1. Plaintiff alleges that on March 4, 2018, while staying
as a guest at an Extended Stay America hotel in Gardena, CA,
she was injured when she slipped and fell on the bathroom
floor as a result of water that had leaked from the sink
and/or toilet. See Complaint at 11. The Complaint
indicates that damages exceeds $25, 000, but it does not
contain any averment as to the amount of damages although it
does contain a page wherein she has checked-off that she has
suffered "wage loss," "hospital and medical
expenses," "general damages," "loss of
earning capacity," and "other damage."
Id. at 10.
October 8, 2019, Defendant removed the case to this Court
based on diversity jurisdiction, alleging that Plaintiff is a
citizen of California and Defendant is a Delaware corporation
with its principal place of business in North Carolina.
See Notice of Removal ("NOR") ¶¶
3, Docket No. 1. In its Notice of Removal, Defendant also
alleged that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
See Id. ¶ 4.
November 7, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to remand
("Motion"), arguing that Defendant did not provide
any foundation for its assertion that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See generally Notice
of Motion and Motion to Remand ("Motion", Docket
No. 8. In its opposition to the Motion, Defendant asserts
that although Plaintiffs complaint does not include a
specific dollar figure for damages, "it does include
substantial damage allegations, encompassing wage loss,
hospital and medical expenses, general damage, loss of
earning capacity, and other unspecified damages, which are
sufficient to alert a defendant that the plaintiff may be
seeking an amount in excess of the diversity
requirement." See Memorandum of Points and
Authorities in Opposition to Motion to Remand
("Opp."), 1, Docket No. 11. Furthermore, Defendant
argues that defense counsel attempted in good faith to
confirm the amount in controversy but did not receive the
requested information from Plaintiffs counsel. See
Court has an obligation to ensure that subject matter
jurisdiction exists before proceeding. See Arbaugh v.
Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006); Valdez v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116 (9th Cir. 2004).
"The party asserting federal jurisdiction has the burden
of showing the case meets the statutory requirements for the
exercise of federal jurisdiction and therefore belongs in
federal court." Lewis v. Verizon Commc'ns,
Inc., 627 F.3d 395, 399 (9th Cir. 2010). In order for a
court to have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the
parties must be completely diverse. See Exxon Mobil Corp.
v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 553 (2005)
("[T]he presence . . . of a single plaintiff from the
same [s]tate as a single defendant deprives the district
court of original diversity jurisdiction."). The matter
in controversy must also "exceed the sum "or
value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs." 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a).
plaintiffs complaint is silent regarding damages, the
removing defendant bears the burden of establishing that the
amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional amount by a
preponderance of the evidence. Sanchez v. Monumental Life
Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996). The Ninth
Circuit strictly construes the removal statute against
removal jurisdiction, and "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).
may submit evidence outside the complaint when supporting or
challenging removal, such as affidavits, declarations, and
other summary-judgment type evidence. Ibarra v. Manheim
Investments, Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1197 (9th Cir. 2015);
Ramirez v. Benihana Nat'l Corp., No.
18-CV-05575-MMC, 2019 WL 131843, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8,
2019) (holding that defendant established the amount in
controversy requirement by a preponderance of the evidence
where defendant relied on declarations as evidence for its
calculation). A removing "defendant cannot establish
removal jurisdiction by mere speculation and conjecture, with
unreasonable assumptions." Ibarra, 775 F.3d at
1197. In some instances, assessing damages at this stage
requires a chain of reasoning that includes assumptions, and
"[w]hen that is so, those assumptions cannot be pulled
from thin air but need some reasonable ground underlying
them." Id. at 1199.
quite evident that Defendant has failed to meet its burden to
prove that the amount in controversy exceeds the minimum
jurisdictional threshold. Although the Court may consider
summary judgment type evidence to determine whether the
amount in controversy is met, the Court will not require
Plaintiff to submit such evidence, or to undergo discovery
into the amount in controversy, where there is no basis in
the complaint to conclude that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Although there are instances in which the
Court would infer that the amount in controversy exceeds the
jurisdictional threshold from the facts pled, a basic
slip-and-fall case with no allegations of severe injury is
not such a case. Although Plaintiff seeks damages for wage
loss, hospital and medical expenses, and loss of earning
capacity, the ...