The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Averie Stromberg Leval ("Leval") sued Prudential Health Care
Plan, Inc. ("PruCare") and The Prudential Insurance Company of
America ("Prudential") in the Circuit Court of Cook County,
charging violation of Leval's privacy rights and breach of
contract.*fn1 Defendants removed the action to this District
Court on diversity-of-citizenship grounds and have now filed
1. Prudential moves for dismissal.
2. PruCare seeks summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order,
this Court sua sponte remands the action to the state court for
want of subject matter jurisdiction.
PruCare, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prudential, is engaged in
the health care services business in this area (Complaint ¶¶
1-2). Leval is a former employee of PruCare (Complaint ¶ 3)
whose photograph was used without her knowledge or consent on
an advertising promotional poster displayed in PruCare's
Lincoln Park Health Center (Complaint ¶ 9). Leval complained,
and PruCare agreed to Leval's demand not to use her photo or
likeness again without her prior permission and consent
(Complaint ¶¶ 10-11).
Though the child's face is visible in the photograph (despite
its tiny size), because Leval is leaning forward toward the
camera with her head bent down, all that is really visible as a
means of "identification" — even in miniature — is her
hairstyle. Even under a magnifying glass, so little of her face
is discernible as to defy any real identification of the person
as Leval (except perhaps by someone who already knows she is in
Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Leval's state court complaint asks for compensatory and
punitive damages "in a sum in excess of this Court's minimum
jurisdictional amount" — apparently a reference to the $15,000
required to avoid hearing in the Circuit Court's Municipal
Department (Circuit Court of Cook County General Order 2.2(b)).
Ordinarily such a statement of the amount in controversy, if
asserted in good faith by a plaintiff, is not open to
challenge. St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co.,
303 U.S. 283, 288, 58 S.Ct. 586, 590, 82 L.Ed. 845 (1938) still
states that controlling rule as to jurisdictional amount:
The rule governing dismissal for want of jurisdiction in cases
brought in the federal court is that, unless the law gives a
different rule, the sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if
the claim is apparently made in good faith.
It must appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really
for less than the jurisdictional amount to justify dismissal.
In Jeffries v. Silvercup Bakers, Inc., 434 F.2d 310, 312 (7th
Cir. 1970) our Court of Appeals ...