United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Antoinette Calvert, filed a Motion to Remand this case to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Defendant, Office Depot, Inc., is opposed; and the issue has been fully briefed. For the following reasons, the Plaintiff's Motion to Remand  is denied.
The Plaintiff filed a Complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County on June 2, 2014. (Dkt. 1-1). The Complaint alleges: one count of negligence, one count of premises liability, and one count of res ipsa loquitur. (Dkt. 1-1.) The Complaint was served on Defendant by the Cook County Sheriff on June 9, 2014. (Dkt. 1-4.) On July 8, 2014, Defendant filed a Request to Admit Facts (the "Request") which contained the following:
1. Admit that Plaintiff is seeking damages in an amount greater than $75, 000.00, exclusive of interests or costs.
2. Admit that the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000.00, exclusive of interests or costs.
3. Admit that the Plaintiff is a citizen of Illinois.
4. Admit that the Plaintiff is not a citizen of Delaware or Florida.
(Dkt. 9-4.) Plaintiff filed her answer to the Request on August 5, 2014. (Dkt. 1-3.) For each of the four requests Plaintiff responded: "Admit. Insofar as Defendant attempts to use this admission as a basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction, Plaintiff objects on the basis that there is a lack of complete diversity, as Defendant Office Depot, Inc. is a citizen of Illinois." (Dkt. 1-3.) Defendant filed a Notice of Removal on August 11, 2014. (Dkt. 1.) Plaintiff filed the current Motion to Remand on September 9, 2014. (Dkt. 9.)
In order for a case to be removable to federal court, the citizenship of the parties must be diverse and the amount in controversy must exceed $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441. Normally a notice of removal must be filed within thirty days of receipt of a copy of the complaint by a defendant or within thirty days of the service of summons upon the defendant. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1). However, "if the case stated by the initial pleading is not removable, a notice of removal may be filed within 30 days after receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable." (Emphasis added.) 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3).
The proponent of federal jurisdiction "bears the burden to show that the removal was timely and that it meets all the criteria." Douthitt v. Arvinmeritor Inc., No. 13-cv-754, 2013 WL 5255677, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2013) (citing Ruppel v. CBS Corp., 701 F.3d 1176, 1179 (7th Cir. 2012)). The thirty-day time limit for removal "forces the defendant to make a prompt decision about removal once a pleading or other litigation document provides clear notice that the predicates for removal are present." (Emphasis added.) Walker v. Trailer Transit, Inc., 727 F.3d 819, 823 (7th Cir. 2013). The removal clock begins only when the defendant receives a "pleading or other paper that affirmatively and unambiguously reveals that the predicates for removal are present." (Emphasis added.) Id. at 824.
Plaintiff argues that, on its face, her Complaint was sufficient to trigger the thirty-day removal clock under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1). Under this theory, the Defendant had until July 9, 2014, to file a notice of removal. Plaintiff's Complaint alleged that she suffered "permanent and severe injuries which has caused Plaintiff to endure pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of a normal life, which requires her to seek medical care which continues in the future and to incur medical expenses." (Compl. ¶¶ 21, 24.) Courts have held that "when plaintiffs allege serious, permanent injuries and significant medical expenses, it is obvious from the face of the complaint that the plaintiffs' damages exceeded the jurisdictional amount, thus triggering the 30-day removal ...