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Jeff Phillips v. Continental Tire the Americas

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


July 23, 2012

JEFF PHILLIPS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CONTINENTAL TIRE THE AMERICAS, LLC, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Jeff Phillips' Motion to Remand Case to State Court (Doc. 14). Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this claim based on a post-removal affidavit limiting damages sought to $75,000 or less.

In removal cases based on diversity jurisdiction, the amount in controversy is determined based on the plaintiff's complaint at the time the notice of removal is filed. Gould v. Artisoft, Inc., 1 F.3d 544, 547 (7th Cir. 1993); see 16 James Wm. Moore, Moore's Federal Practice § 107.14[2][g][ii] (3d ed.). The proponent of federal jurisdiction must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the $75,000 jurisdictional threshold. Oshana v. Coca-Cola Co., 472 F.3d 506, 510 (7th Cir. 2006). "[A] good-faith estimate of the stakes is acceptable if it is plausible and supported by a preponderance of the evidence." Id. "[U]nless recovery of an amount exceeding the jurisdictional minimum is legally impossible, the case belongs in federal court." Back Doctors Ltd. v. Metropolitan Property and Cas. Ins. Co., 637 F.3d 827, 830 (7th Cir. 2011). Further, a plaintiff cannot defeat federal jurisdiction after removal by an affidavit limiting damages below the jurisdictional amount. St. Paul Mercury, 303 U.S. at 292.

Here, Plaintiff does not contend that Defendant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional amount.*fn1 Rather, Plaintiff contends that his post-removal affidavit "wherein he caps and limits his recovery to an amount of $75,000 or less . . . divests this Court of subject matter jurisdiction." (Doc. 14). As the Supreme Court explained in St. Paul, Plaintiff cannot defeat federal jurisdiction by attempting to limit his damages after removal. Thus, Plaintiff presents no basis for removal of this case to state court.

Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Remand Case to State Court (Doc. 14).

J. Phil Gilbert


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