United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge
Stephanie Kaplan (“Plaintiff”) alleges that,
beginning in the fall of 2014, defendant Kimberly Jewett
(“Defendant”) engaged in an extra-marital affair
with Plaintiff's husband, Dr. Keith Kaplan (“Dr.
Kaplan”). First Am. Compl. . On April 16, 2015,
Plaintiff filed suit in this Court under the Illinois
Alienation of Affections Act, 740 ILCS 5/1 et seq.,
and Criminal Conversation Act, 740 ILCS 5/1 et
seq. Id. On November 2, 2016,
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's case
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss .
Defendant argues that the amount in controversy does not
exceed the $75, 000 threshold required by 28 U.S.C. §
1332. Id. For the reasons explained below,
Defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.
alleges the following facts in her First Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff and Dr. Kaplan, both residents of North Carolina,
have been married for over nineteen years. First Am. Compl.
 ¶ 5. Dr. Kaplan works as a General Pathologist for
the Veterans Health Administration, serves as Chief Medical
Officer for a private company, and writes for an internet
blog on digital pathology. Id. ¶¶ 12, 54.
The couple has one child together. Id. ¶ 6.
before the fall of 2014, Dr. Kaplan began communicating with
Defendant, a patient advocate residing in Illinois, via
telephone and social media. Id. ¶¶ 10, 60.
The pair eventually met in person in September 2014, when Dr.
Kaplan attended a work meeting in Chicago. Id.
¶ 8. The two reunited in October 2014 at a conference in
San Francisco, and again in Chicago in early November 2014.
Id. ¶¶ 14, 16-18.
November 23, 2014, Dr. Kaplan announced his separation from
Plaintiff and vacated their marital residence. Id.
¶¶ 20-21. In early December 2014, Dr. Kaplan took
Defendant on a trip to London and Paris. Id.
¶¶ 23-24. Although Plaintiff and Dr. Kaplan
attempted a brief reconciliation in mid-December 2014, Dr.
Kaplan informed Plaintiff around Christmas that he was in a
relationship with Defendant. Id. ¶¶ 30-32.
Dr. Kaplan ceased financial support of Plaintiff and their
child in January 2015. Id. ¶ 57.
claims that, throughout the course of their relationship,
Defendant engaged in conduct with Dr. Kaplan, including
sexual intercourse, “designed to entice” Dr.
Kaplan's affections “to depart from
Plaintiff.” Id. ¶ 69. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant ultimately undermined Dr. Kaplan's love
for Plaintiff and that, as a result, Plaintiff has suffered
actual damages. Id. ¶¶ 45, 50, 53.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that she suffered the loss
of: (1) Dr. Kaplan's income and contribution to household
tasks; (2) large amounts of marital money that Dr. Kaplan
spent on Defendant (including travel, lodging, clothing,
food, and gifts); and (3) marital income that Defendant
misappropriated from Dr. Kaplan's business ventures.
Id. ¶¶ 55-56, 58-67. Plaintiff contends
that these damages exceed the $75, 000 jurisdictional
threshold. Id. ¶¶ 67, 86.
Amount in Controversy
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and
possess “only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); Teamsters Nat.
Auto. Transporters Indus. Negotiating Comm. v. Troha,
328 F.3d 325, 327 (7th Cir. 2003). Under 28 U.S.C. §
1332, district courts possess original jurisdiction in civil
actions between citizens of different states “where the
amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs.” The amount in
controversy is “not the amount sought by the plaintiff
but the amount at stake to either party to the suit.”
BEM I, L.L.C. v. Anthropologie, Inc., 301 F.3d 548,
553 (7th Cir. 2002); Uhl v. Thoroughbred Tech. &
Telecomms., Inc., 309 F.3d 978, 983 (7th Cir. 2002)
(“[T]he jurisdictional amount should be assessed
looking at either the benefit to the plaintiff or the cost to
the defendant of the requested relief.”).
cases, “the party asserting federal jurisdiction has
the burden of proof to show that jurisdiction is
proper.” Travelers Prop. Cas. v. Good, 689
F.3d 714, 722 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing McNutt v. Gen.
Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936)). When
the amount in controversy is uncontested, the Court
“will accept the plaintiff's good faith allegation
of the amount in controversy unless it appears to a legal
certainty that the claim is really for less than the
jurisdictional amount.” McMillian v. Sheraton
Chicago Hotel & Towers, 567 F.3d 839, 844 (7th Cir.
2009) (internal quotations omitted). Where, however,
“the defendant challenges the plaintiff's
allegation of the amount in controversy, the plaintiff must
support [her] assertion with competent proof” by a
preponderance of the evidence. Id. (internal
quotations omitted); Travelers, 689 F.3d at 722 (the
proponent of jurisdiction “may be called on to prove
facts that determine the amount in controversy, and must do
so by a preponderance of the evidence”).
satisfy this burden, a party must do more than “point
to the theoretical availability of certain categories of
damages.” Am. Bankers Life Assur. of Florida v.
Evans, 319 F.3d 907, 909 (7th Cir. 2003). Jurisdiction,
of course, “is a legal conclusion, a
consequence of facts rather than a provable
‘fact.'” Meridian Sec. Ins. Co. v.
Sadowski, 441 F.3d 536, 541 (7th Cir. 2006) (emphasis in
original). Thus, “what the proponent of jurisdiction
must ‘prove' is contested factual assertions”
supported by “admissible evidence.” Id.
at 541-43; see also McMillian, 567 F.3d at 845
(dismissing case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
where “plaintiffs rest[ed] their entire argument
concerning amount in controversy on the allegations contained
in their complaint” and did not submit “competent
the proponent of jurisdiction “may be called on to
prove facts that determine the amount in controversy, ”
once those facts have been established, “the
proponent's estimate of the claim's value must be
accepted unless there is ‘legal certainty' that the
controversy's value is below the threshold.”
Meridian, 441 F.3d at 541. The proponent “does
not have to establish that it is likely that plaintiff will
prevail or, if she does, that she will obtain a judgment
exceeding the amount-in-controversy requirement.”
Kincaid v. Menard, Inc., No. 13-cv-7279, 2014 WL
1715503, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2014) (citing Back
Doctors Ltd. v. Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 637
F.3d 827, 831 (7th Cir. 2011)). The burden, rather, “is
to show what the plaintiff hopes to get out of the
litigation; if this amount exceeds the jurisdictional
threshold, the case proceeds in federal court unless a rule
of law will keep the award under the threshold.”
Id. (citing Rising-Moore v. Red Roof Inns,
Inc., 435 F.3d 813, 816 (7th Cir. 2006)).
Alienation of Affections and Criminal ...