United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
R. HERNDON JUDGE.
before the Court is plaintiff's motion to remand (Doc. 5)
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447. Defendant opposes (Doc.
8). Based on the following, the motion to remand is DENIED.
Complaint and Removal
March 2015, plaintiff Toni Perrin (“Perrin”)
filed a personal injury complaint as an arbitration
proceeding in the Circuit Court of the Twentieth Judicial
Circuit of St. Clair County, Illinois, naming defendants
Dillard's Inc. and Dillard's Store Services, Inc.
(“defendants”) (Doc. 1-1). Perrin alleged
that on December 29, 2013, while shopping at defendants'
store she slipped and fell on vomit, suffering multiple
debilitating injuries. As relevant, the complaint stated
“[p]laintiff has incurred medical expenses in an amount
less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50, 000.00) and
will incur additional medical expenses in the future. That
plaintiff has incurred lost wages in an amount not yet
determined” (Id. at 3). Perrin asserted
breach of duty to maintain reasonably safe premises and
requested relief in the amount of $50, 000.00 plus costs
February 23, 2017, the complaint was removed to this Court
asserting initial non-removability-although diversity of
citizenship was alleged-because the amount in controversy was
less than $50, 000.00 and, under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3),
notice of removal may be filed within 30 days once defendants
discovered the case became removable (Id. at 2). In
support, defendants alleged receiving a letter from
Perrin's attorney (Doc. 1-4) dated January 31, 2017
conveying a demand of $350, 000.00 in restitution; and, up
until receiving said demand, Perrin had not amended her
complaint to reflect seeking damages in excess of the initial
$50, 000.00 requested relief (Doc. 1 at 2). Defendants
contend Perrin failed to amend her initial complaint in
bad faith in order to prevent removal within one-year of
commencement as stipulated by section 1446(c) (Id.
Motion to Remand
argues improper removal due to defendants' delayed
motion; and moreover, points to lack of presentation of facts
which would toll the statutory one-year time period under
section 1446(c)(1) (Doc. 5). Perrin proclaims defendants'
removal was attempted after her case was pending in Illinois
State court for more than one year, and more than thirty days
after defendants knew the amount in controversy exceeded $75,
000.00 (Id. at 1).
she alleges that in April 2015, defendants received a summons
and complaint describing-what was believed to be at the
time-a soft tissue back injury claim seeking less than $50,
000.00 in relief (Id.). On December 9, 2015,
arbitration proceedings were conducted where Perrin testified
back surgery may be beneficial to her injuries (Id.
at 2). Perrin subsequently filed a motion to
transfer her case to the State court law docket on December
16, 2015 (Id. at 7). As relevant, the motion stated:
1. The parties recently submitted to arbitration.
Simultaneously herewith, plaintiff rejected the arbitration
award and paid the rejection fee.
2. That due to recent opinions of plaintiff's treating
physician it appears that plaintiff's damages will exceed
the jurisdictional amount of the arbitration docket.
3. That plaintiff seeks to transfer this proceeding to the
law docket and fully engage in discovery.
4. That no party will be prejudiced by the relief sought
(Id.). The motion was granted and the case was
transferred to the law docket on January 21, 2016
(Id. at 2). Additionally, a copy of corroborating
medical records was served on defendants January 14, 2016
(Id. at 2, 5). As a result, Perrin argues defendants
knew or should have known the amount in controversy would
exceed the $75, 000.00 jurisdictional requirement once she
testified in the December 9th arbitration proceeding
(Id. at 2).
affirms providing defendants certified notice of increased
damage claims by presenting the following:
• January, 14, 2016: medical records (Id. at
• March 9, 2016: medical records (Id. at 11).
• December 5, 2016: medical records (Id. at
• February 15, 2017: medical records from two different
doctors (Id. at 13).
response, defendants assert, inter alia, their Notice of
Removal was timely filed as stipulated under section
1446(b)(3), and furthermore purport Perrin deliberately
concealed facts within the first year of litigation which
would have established her claim would exceed $75, 000.00
(Doc. 8). As a result, defendants claim violation of Rule
213(i) of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules because Perrin
failed to amend her complaint upon determining the claim
would be in excess of $75, 000.00 (Id. at 4).
U.S.C. § 1441
may remove “any civil action brought in a State court
of which the district courts of the United States have
original jurisdiction [.]” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
The removing party bears the burden of demonstrating removal
is proper, and removal statues are strictly construed,
resolving all doubts in plaintiffs choice of state court
forum. See Morris v. Nuzzo,718 ...