The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON I. SHADUR
Texaco Pipeline, Inc. ("Pipeline") and Texaco Refining and Marketing, Inc. ("Refining") have joined in filing a Notice of Removal ("Notice") of this action to this District Court from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois--more precisely from its Municipal Department, Sixth Municipal District. Although Notice P 3 properly sets out the required diversity of citizenship
and although the Notice was timely filed, this Court is constrained to remand this action to the state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction--more specifically, because of the absence of the requisite amount in controversy.
This Court has already expressed its views on the troublesome problem posed by the prohibition of Illinois law against quantifying in a complaint the specific ad damnum sought by plaintiffs in personal injury cases, as that prohibition impacts on the necessary determination of the jurisdictional amount in controversy for removal purposes ( Shaw v. Dow Brands, Inc., 994 F.2d 364, 371-78 (7th Cir. 1993)). Because that view did not carry the day, this Court will of course adhere to the principles announced by the majority in that case ( id. at 366-68 ). But in that respect this action is critically different from the one at issue in Shaw (even though it is also illustrative of the problem that this Court sought to identify there).
Multiple plaintiffs with separate and distinct claims must each satisfy the jurisdictional amount; they cannot aggregate "claims where none of the claimants satisfies the jurisdictional amount." Zahn v. International Paper Co., 414 U.S. 291, 294-95, 38 L. Ed. 2d 511, 94 S. Ct. 505 [(1973)].
Thus each of the Tokarzes has expressly limited his or her damages to an amount insufficient for federal jurisdiction, and has done so in a manner specifically permitted by 735 ILCS 5/2-604. And that deliberate choice by Tokarzes at the outset of their action precludes the current removal by Pipeline and Refining ( St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 294, 82 L. Ed. 845, 58 S. Ct. 586 (1938), quoted by this Court in Shaw, 994 F.2d at 374).
Accordingly the express teaching of the Supreme Court in St. Paul Mercury Indemnity is that "it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction" (28 U.S.C. § 1447(c)), and that same statutory section therefore mandates the remand of this action to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
As permitted by this District Court's General Rule 30(b), the certified copy of the remand order shall be mailed forthwith.
Senior United States District Judge