The Court expresses no opinion as to the validity of plaintiff's claims.
B. Diversity Jurisdiction
Defendants also argue that removal was proper because the Court possesses diversity jurisdiction over the parties. The Court rejected an identical argument in Pratt II. Plaintiff alleged a FELA claim in its state court complaint, and 28 U.S.C. § 1445(a) prohibits removal of FELA actions filed in state court. However, a claim does not "arise under" the FELA for purposes of the § 1445(a) bar to removal merely because a plaintiff names that statute in the complaint. Hammond v. Terminal R.R. Ass'n of St. Louis, 848 F.2d 95, 97 (7th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1032, 103 L. Ed. 2d 229, 109 S. Ct. 1170 (1989). As the Hammond court noted, "a frivolous claim does not invoke federal jurisdiction, and neither should a frivolous invocation of the FELA bar removal." Id. at 98 (citations omitted). Defendants contend that plaintiff's FELA claim is patently frivolous, and therefore cannot bar removal where diversity jurisdiction otherwise exists. In its motion to dismiss, defendants offer several convincing arguments that plaintiff's FELA claim is frivolous, and plaintiff did not respond to this motion. Assuming that defendants have demonstrated that plaintiff's FELA claim is frivolous, however, Norfolk & Western must still establish the Court's diversity jurisdiction. Id.
Because plaintiff is a corporate citizen of Illinois, and defendants are corporate citizens of Virginia for the purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the diversity jurisdiction issue turns on the $ 50,000 amount in controversy requirement. Plaintiff argues that the amount in controversy requirement cannot be satisfied because the complaint requests only injunctive relief, but this argument is absolutely wrong. Although plaintiff has not contested defendants' allegations of jurisdictional facts, the Court "may demand that the party alleging jurisdiction [defendants] justify [their] allegations by a preponderance of evidence." Shaw v. Dow Brands, Inc., 994 F.2d 364, 367 n.2 (7th Cir. 1993), quoting McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189, 80 L. Ed. 1135, 56 S. Ct. 780 (1936). The preponderance of the evidence or reasonable probability standard applied to a removing defendant is more exacting than the standard applied to a plaintiff asserting diversity jurisdiction. Shaw, 994 F.2d at 367 n.2., citing St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 289, 82 L. Ed. 845, 58 S. Ct. 586 (1938).
Where an action seeks injunctive or declaratory relief, the amount in controversy for such a request for relief is measured by the value of the object of the litigation. Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 347, 53 L. Ed. 2d 383, 97 S. Ct. 2434 (1977). Under the "either viewpoint rule," the Court can measure the value or amount in controversy of the injunctive relief requested from the perspective of either party, plaintiff or defendants. McCarty v. Amoco Pipeline Co., 595 F.2d 389, 393-95 (7th Cir. 1979). In determining the amount in controversy, the Court must consider only "the pecuniary result to either party which the judgment would directly produce," id. at 393 (emphasis added), not indirect or speculative results of the judgment. Defendants offer several arguments in support of satisfaction of the amount in controversy. Before considering these arguments, it is imperative to remember that the Court must consider only the direct pecuniary consequences of the grant or denial of an injunction prohibiting defendants from conducting the hearing. Id.
Defendants first argue that the amount in controversy is satisfied because the value of Bracelin's claim exceeds $ 50,000. The Court does not dispute the fact that Bracelin's claim may exceed $ 50,000. However, this request for injunctive relief will not decide Bracelin's claim, and will not "directly produce" a "pecuniary result to either party" by providing a resolution of Bracelin's claim. Id. The fact that Bracelin's claim may exceed $ 50,000 does not satisfy the amount in controversy requirement in this case.
Defendants also contend that the amount in controversy is satisfied because if the injunction is entered, its ability to investigate all accidents will be impaired, possibly resulting in other losses to the companies. Once again, any impairment of defendants' right to investigate other accidents is not a pecuniary result directly produced by this lawsuit, and therefore the Court cannot consider this factor in determining the amount in controversy. Moreover, defendant's argument is purely speculative. Id.
Invoking the either viewpoint rule, defendants next argue that the amount in controversy is satisfied because, as plaintiff has pleaded in its complaint, plaintiff could face malpractice charges by failing to represent Bracelin at the hearing. Id. Malpractice actions require a trial-within-a-trial, requiring the malpractice victim to show the validity of his claim, the attorney's negligence, and that the attorney's negligence caused the loss. Sheppard v. Krol, 218 Ill. App. 3d 254, 578 N.E.2d 212, 161 Ill. Dec. 85 (Ill. App. 1991). As stated earlier, this request for injunctive relief does not decide Bracelin's FELA claim, so any damages resulting from a malpractice claim, assuming Bracelin could prove the validity of this claim, would be only the diminution in value of his claim caused by attending the informal hearing without an attorney. Defendants also contend that the request for injunctive relief can be valued at over $ 50,000 because of the possibility of attorney's fees expended in defending a potential malpractice action. The Court concludes that the malpractice arguments in support of the amount in controversy, while inventive, are speculative, and do not support the allegations of jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. Shaw, 994 F.2d at 367 n.2. While Bracelin's FELA claim may satisfy the amount in controversy requirement, the ultimate success or failure of that claim does not hinge upon plaintiff's request for injunctive relief. For the reasons stated above, defendants have failed to demonstrate that the amount in controversy requirement has been satisfied, and therefore diversity jurisdiction does not exist. The Court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS plaintiff's motion to remand, and this cause is REMANDED to the Circuit Court for the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: 29 March 1994
William D. Stiehl
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