United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. Yandle, United States District Judge
to the Court's obligation to raise sua sponte
whether it has subject matter jurisdiction, (Craig v.
Ontario Corp., 543 F.3d 872, 875 (7th Cir. 2008)), and
having reviewed the Notice of Removal in this case (Doc. 1),
the Court finds that Defendant insufficiently pled diversity
jurisdiction. Accordingly, this matter is REMANDED to the
Circuit Court of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, St. Clair
September 26, 2016, Plaintiff Shalitha Dukes filed suit
against Defendant DG Retail, LLC in the Circuit Court of the
Twentieth Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County, Illinois,
alleging that she sustained personal injuries after tripping
on a case of water left in the aisle of Defendant's store
at 405 East Lyons Street, Marissa, Illinois (Doc. 1-3). On
December 12, 2016, Defendant removed the case to this Court
alleging diversity of citizenship pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
action may be removed to federal court if the district court
has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Courts have
original jurisdiction of civil actions if there is complete
diversity between the parties and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. Complete
diversity means that “none of the parties on either
side of the litigation may be a citizen of the state of which
a party on the other side is a citizen.” Howell v.
Tribune Entertainment Co., 106 F.3d 215, 217 (7th Cir.
1997) (citations omitted).
depends on the amount in controversy when the federal suit
began. Meridian Sec. Ins. v. Sandowski, 441 F.3d
536, 538 (7th Cir. 2006). The amount in controversy stated in
the plaintiff's complaint generally controls, unless it
is legally impossible. Rising-Moore v. Red Roof Inns,
Inc., 435 F.3d 813, 815 (7th Cir. 2006). If the
complaint does not establish the amount in controversy, the
party invoking federal jurisdiction can use other evidence.
Meridian, 441 F.3d at 541-42; Chase v. Shop
N' Save Warehouse Foods, Inc., 110 F.3d 424, 427-28
(7th Cir. 1997).
facts must be established by a preponderance of the evidence.
Meridian, 441 F.3d at 540. Further, the removing
party's burden is to show “what the plaintiff hopes
to get out of the litigation.” Brill v. Countrywide
Home Loans, Inc., 427 F.3d 446, 449 (7th Cir. 2005)
(“[P]art of the removing party's burden is to show
not only what the stakes of the litigation could be,
but also what they are given the plaintiff's
actual demands.”). When the plaintiff provides little
information about the value of his claims, “a
good-faith estimate of the stakes is acceptable if it is
plausible and supported by a preponderance of the
evidence.” Oshana v. Coca-Cola Co., 472 F.3d
506, 511 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing Rubel v. Pfizer,
Inc., 361 F.3d 1016, 1020 (7th Cir. 2004)).
removal statute is construed narrowly and any doubts
regarding jurisdiction are resolved in favor of remand.
Doe v. Allied-Signal, Inc., 985 F.2d 908, 911 (7th
Cir. 1993). If the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the action must be remanded to state court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The burden of
establishing federal jurisdiction falls on the party seeking
case, Plaintiff's Complaint seeks a judgment “in an
amount in excess of $50, 000” (Doc. 1-3). Defendant
asserts the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000 based on
Plaintiff's response to a request for admission in which
Defendant requested Plaintiff admit the amount in controversy
was in excess of $75, 000. In response to the request for
admission, Plaintiff states:
Plaintiff does not have sufficient information to admit or
deny at this time. The Plaintiff cannot truthfully admit or
deny because Plaintiff is being evaluated and seeking medical
attention for the injuries claimed as a result of this
(Doc. 1-2). Defendant contends that Plaintiff's response
that she is still being evaluated for her injuries four
months after her alleged fall and her claimed damages in the
Complaint - including injuries to her knee, ankle, and soft
tissue - “make it now apparent the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.”
the Notice merely establishes that Plaintiff is unsure
whether her damages exceed $75, 000 at this time. Thus,
Defendant's Notice of Removal does not provide sufficient
evidentiary support that Plaintiff's damages exceed $75,
000.00 and Defendant has failed to meet its burden to prove
that the amount-in-controversy requirement has been met.
See Brill v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 427 F.3d
446, 447 (7th Cir. 2005) (“Whichever side chooses
federal court must establish jurisdiction; it is not enough
to file a pleading and leave it to the court or the adverse
party to negate jurisdiction.”); see also Morales
v. Menard, Inc., No. 12-CV-9082, 2014 WL 1364996, at *1
(N.D. Ill. Apr. 7, 2014) (“The party seeking federal
jurisdiction bears the burden to prove that the
amount-in-controversy requirement of § 1332 has been met
and that this Court has jurisdiction”).
this Court does not have proper subject matter jurisdiction
over this case and is obligated, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c), to REMAND the matter back to the Circuit Court of