United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
KATHERINE P. NELSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on sua sponte
review. In accordance with provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, the parties in this case
have consented to have the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge conduct any and all proceedings in this
case, including the trial, order the entry of a final
judgment, and conduct all post-judgment proceedings. (Doc.
9). As discussed herein, the undersigned has determined that
subject matter jurisdiction is lacking and this matter is due
to be REMANDED to the Circuit Court of
Mobile County, Alabama.
action, originally filed by Plaintiff Zina Jones
(“Plaintiff”), was removed to this Court from the
Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama, by Defendants
Marriott International, Inc. and Sabrina Le
(“Defendants”) under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
(See Doc. 1). In the Notice of Removal (Doc. 1),
Defendants allege diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a) as the sole basis for the Court's subject
matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a)
(“A defendant or defendants desiring to remove any
civil action from a State court shall file in the district
court of the United States for the district and division
within which such action is pending a notice of
removal…containing a short and plain statement of the
grounds for removal…”).
as here, a case is removed from state court, “[t]he
burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction falls on
the party invoking removal.” Univ. of S. Alabama v.
Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 411-12 (11th Cir. 1999).
Accord, e.g., City of Vestavia Hills v. Gen.
Fid. Ins. Co., 676 F.3d 1310, 1313 (11th Cir. 2012)
(“The removing party bears the burden of proof
regarding the existence of federal subject matter
jurisdiction.”). “A defendant may remove an
action to a district court that would have original
jurisdiction if complete diversity between the parties exists
and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.”
City of Vestavia Hills, 676 F.3d at 1313 (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1332).
undersigned previously determined that the Notice of Removal
failed to sufficiently demonstrate that the amount in
controversy “exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs…” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a) (Doc 5). To meet the amount in controversy
requirement, the removing defendant must demonstrate that the
amount in controversy likely exceeds the court's
Where the complaint does not expressly allege a specific
amount in controversy, removal is proper if it is facially
apparent from the complaint that the amount in controversy
exceeds the jurisdictional requirement. If the jurisdictional
amount is not facially apparent from the complaint, the court
should look to the notice of removal and may require evidence
relevant to the amount in controversy at the time the case
was removed ... A 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
Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319-20
(11th Cir. 2001).
Complaint does not contain a demand for a specific sum. (Doc.
1-1 at 3-8). Defendants have claimed that it is apparent from
the face of the Complaint, “[g]iven the nature of the
claimed permanent personal injuries, psychological injuries,
loss of enjoyment of life, and the demand for punitive
damages[, ]” that the amount in controversy requirement
is satisfied. (Doc. 1 at 10). As the Court previously held,
these allegations, however, do not make § 1332(a)
requisite amount in controversy “facially
apparent” from the complaint. See Williams,
269 F.3d at 1318; See also Collinsworth v. Big
Dog Treestand, Inc., 2016 WL 3620775 at *1, *3 (S.D.
Ala. June 29, 2016)(finding general listing of categories of
damages did not satisfy amount in controversy
requirement). (Doc. 5).
April 18, 2018, after reviewing the filings, the undersigned
entered an order (Doc. 5) directing the Defendants to brief
the question of amount in controversy for purposes of
enabling the Court to determine whether diversity
jurisdiction was present. Defendants were cautioned that
failure to meet their burden with regard to establishing
subject matter jurisdiction may result in remand of this
matter. (Doc. 5 at 3-4). Defendants Marriott International,
Inc. and Sabrina Le have briefed the issue. (Doc. 6).
to § 1332, federal courts have original jurisdiction
over all 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. See
Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v. Osting-Schwinn,
613 F.3d 1079, 1085 (11th Cir. 2010) (“For federal
diversity jurisdiction to attach, all parties must be
completely diverse ... and the amount in controversy must
exceed $75, 000.”) (citations omitted). “In light
of the federalism and separation of powers concerns
implicated by diversity jurisdiction, federal courts are
obligated to strictly construe the statutory grant of
diversity jurisdiction ... [and] to scrupulously confine
their own jurisdiction to the precise limits which the
statute has defined.” Morrison v. Allstate Indem.
Co., 228 F.3d 1255, 1268 (11th Cir. 2000) (citations
through § 1446(b), has established a “bifurcated
removal approach, ” under which a state court defendant
may remove a case to federal court at two procedurally
distinct moments in time. Lee v. Lilly
Trucking of Va., Inc., 2012 WL 960989, at *1 (M.D.Ala.
Mar. 21, 2012).
First, if it is facially apparent from the initial pleading
that subject matter jurisdiction exists, § 1446(b)(1)
provides the procedure for removal. Such a removal must be
accomplished “within 30 days after the receipt by the
defendant ... of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth
the claim for relief upon which such action is
based....” § 1446(b)(1). However, “[i]f 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, ...