United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
court has before it the October 16, 2017 motion for partial
summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Edwin Williams. (Doc.
17). Pursuant to the court's initial order, the motion is
fully briefed and under submission as of November 13, 2017.
(Doc. 9). The motion is due to be denied for the following
filed the instant complaint in the Circuit Court of Jefferson
County, Alabama, alleging violations of Alabama law based on
an injury he sustained in the parking lot of Defendant.
Defendant removed the case to federal court under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a) on the grounds the court has diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (See Doc.
1). In its removal, Defendant contends the parties are
completely diverse and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. (Id. at 2-3; Doc. 1-2). In support of its
contention regarding the amount in controversy, Defendant
notes Plaintiff claims an unspecified amount of compensatory
and punitive damages and attaches Plaintiff's settlement
demand in the amount of $200, 000. (Id.). Plaintiff
did not move to remand the case to state court.
motion for partial summary judgment argues Defendant should
be required to stipulate Plaintiff should receive at least
$75, 000.01, if Plaintiff proves his case at trial. (Doc.17;
Doc. 23 at 5). If Defendant will not so stipulate, Plaintiff
asks the court to remand the case because the minimum
jurisdictional amount would not be met. (Doc. 23 at 5).
Defendant opposes Plaintiff's motion and contends
Plaintiff's arguments are not supported by law. (Doc.
22). The court agrees with Defendant.
there is no proposition in the law holding when a complaint
is removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction
and the amount in controversy is met for removal purposes, a
successful plaintiff is entitled to damages in an amount over
$75, 000. A defendant may remove a case and contend the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, while maintaining
partial or whole defenses to a plaintiff's claim. Removal
of a case to federal court does not serve as an admission
regarding damages. Additionally, federal jurisdiction is not
destroyed if, after the final disposition in the case, the
actual amount in controversy is something less than $75, 000.
if the court construes Plaintiff's submission as a motion
to remand, it is due to be denied. A civil action brought in
state court may be removed to federal court if it could have
been brought in federal court in the first instance. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Typically, removal is premised either
on federal question jurisdiction or diversity of citizenship
jurisdiction. Federal question jurisdiction exists when the
civil action arises under the Constitution, laws, or treaties
of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Diversity of
citizenship jurisdiction exists when the amount in
controversy exceeds $ 75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs, and the parties are citizens of different states. 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a).
party seeking removal has the burden of establishing
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1446; Williams v. Best Buy
Co., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319 (11th Cir. 2001). After
removal, a party can move to remand to state court on the
basis of any defect in the removal, including lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). A motion based
on a removal defect must be made within thirty days after the
filing of the notice of removal. Id. However,
“[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the
case shall be remanded.” Id. As such, there is
no time limitation on a motion to remand for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. Lowery v. Alabama Power Co.,
483 F.3d 1184, 1214 n.64 (11th Cir. 2007). Finally,
“[b]ecause removal jurisdiction raises significant
federalism concerns, federal courts are directed to construe
removal statutes strictly. Indeed, all doubts about
jurisdiction should be resolved in favor of remand to state
court.” Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co.,
168 F.3d 405, 411 (11th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted).
the plaintiff does not specifically allege an amount in
controversy or the total amount in damages in the complaint,
the removing defendant must prove the amount in controversy
by a preponderance of the evidence. Leonard v. Enterprise
Rent A Car, 279 F.3d 967, 972 (11th Cir. 2002). Removal
is proper if it is “facially apparent from the
complaint that the amount in controversy exceeds the
jurisdictional requirement.” Williams, 269
F.3d at 1319. If the amount in controversy is not facially
apparent from the complaint, the court looks to the notice of
removal and any evidence submitted by the parties
“relevant to the amount in controversy at the time the
case was removed.” Id. However, a mere
“conclusory allegation in the notice of removal that
the jurisdictional amount is satisfied, without setting forth
the underlying facts supporting such an assertion, is
insufficient to meet the defendant's burden.”
Id. at 1319-20.
did not specify in his complaint an amount in controversy or
how much he was seeking in damages. In support of its
contention the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
Defendant points to Plaintiff's allegations of wanton
misconduct, as well as Plaintiff's demand for punitive
damages. (See Doc. 1 at 2). Such allegations are not
sufficient for the court to determine by a preponderance of
the evidence the value of Plaintiffs claims, were he to
prevail. Therefore, the amount in controversy is not facially
apparent from the complaint.
Defendant attached Plaintiffs settlement demand in the amount
of $200, 000, when it removed the case. (Id.; Doc.
2-1 at 2). The settlement demand is admissible evidence of
the amount in controversy at the time of removal.
“[N]umerous types of documents have been held to
qualify” as “other paper, ” under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1446(b) and can serve as a basis for removal.
Lowery, 483 F.3d at 1212 n.62. “They include .
. . settlement offers.” Id. On the basis of
Plaintiff s settlement letter seeking $200, 000, Defendant
established by a preponderance of the evidence the amount in
controversy requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 was met
and that removal was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1441.
Accordingly, even if the court construed the motion as a
motion to remand, it is due to be denied.
these reasons, Plaintiffs motion for partial summary judgment
is DENIED. (Doc. 17).