United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. OTT, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
27, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of
Jefferson County, Alabama, against Defendants CEMEX
Southeast, LLC (“CEMEX”), and Randy Martin, as
well as fictitious defendants. (Doc. 1-1 at 5-12). On August
30, 2018, Defendant CEMEX  filed a notice of removal based on
diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1332, 1441, and 1446. (Doc. 1). On September 10, 2018,
Plaintiff filed a motion to remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c). (Doc. 7). Plaintiff contends the court
does not have diversity jurisdiction over his complaint
because CEMEX has failed to meet its burden of proof as it
relates to the amount in controversy requirement. The motion
is fully briefed and ripe for decision. (Docs. 14, 18). For
the following reasons, the court concludes that federal
jurisdiction exists based on complete diversity and the
motion to remand is due to be denied.
party seeking removal has the burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction. Pretka v. Kolter City Plaza II, Inc.,
608 F.3d 744, 752 (11th Cir. 2010). A defendant can remove a
suit to federal district court if that court has original
jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over all
civil actions between parties of diverse citizenship where
the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of
interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
the plaintiff does not plead a specified amount of damages in
the complaint, a defendant's notice of removal need
include only a “plausible allegation” that the
amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional threshold.
See Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, __
U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014). When the plaintiff has not
specified the amount of damages in the complaint, the
removing defendant bears the burden of establishing the
jurisdictional amount by a preponderance of the evidence.
Roe v. Michelin North Am., Inc., 613 F.3d 1058, 1061
(11th Cir. 2010).
assessing whether removal is proper, the court first looks to
the complaint. Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754. If a
defendant alleges that federal jurisdiction is
“facially apparent” from the complaint, the court
must evaluate whether the “complaint itself satisfies
the defendant's jurisdictional burden.”
Roe, 613 F.3d at 1061. The law permits a district
court to make “‘reasonable deductions, reasonable
inferences, and other reasonable extrapolations'”
to determine whether federal jurisdiction exits from the face
of the complaint. Id. at 1061-62 (quoting
Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754). “A district court
need not suspend reality or shelve common sense in
determining whether the face of the complaint . . .
establishes the jurisdictional amount. . . . Instead, courts
may use their judicial experience and common sense in
determining whether the case stated in a complaint meets
federal jurisdictional requirements.” Roe, 613
F.3d at 1062 (citations and quotation marks omitted).
complaint,  Plaintiff alleges he fell several feet
from an elevated work platform at a CEMEX facility and
suffered severe injuries as a result. (Doc. 1-1 ¶ 15).
Plaintiff alleges his injuries were caused by CEMEX's
negligent and/or wanton conduct. (Id. ¶¶
25, 27). Additionally, the complaint contains allegations
related to the spoliation of evidence. (Id. ¶
alleges throughout the complaint that he suffered
“serious permanent injuries” and “serious
bodily injuries.” (Id. ¶¶ 15, 16,
17, 18, 19). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges he
“suffered serious permanent and debilitating injuries.
Plaintiff's injuries are to his neck, back and brain.
Plaintiff has continued to have dysfunction of his brain,
pain and suffering and debilitation in his back and neck and
is permanently injured for the rest of his life.”
(Id. ¶ 19). The complaint does not explicitly
identify the type of damages Plaintiff seeks.
alleges that federal jurisdiction exists based on the face of
the complaint. (Doc. 14 at 6-11). Specifically, CEMEX points
to the “serious, ” “permanent, ” and
“debilitating” nature of the alleged injuries,
including “dysfunction of his brain, pain and suffering
and debilitation in his back and neck.” (Id.
at 6-7). Additionally, CEMEX highlights Plaintiff's
wantonness claim and the presumed punitive damages demand
that come with such a claim. (Id. at 9-10).
CEMEX cites to Plaintiff's allegations regarding the
spoliation of evidence.  (Id. at 11).
parties do not dispute that complete diversity exists between
the parties. Therefore, the only issue in the motion to
remand involves the more than $75, 000 jurisdictional
requirement. Plaintiff argues “[t]here is nothing on
the face of the complaint unambiguously stating how much the
Plaintiff [is] seeking in damages, only the claim that [he]
suffered severe injuries.”  (Doc. 7 at 4). The court
disagrees. Plaintiff specifically alleges he sustained
“serious permanent and debilitating injuries”
including injuries to his “neck, back and brain.”
(Doc. 1-1 ¶ 19). Plaintiff further alleges
“continued . . . dysfunction of his brain, pain and
suffering, and debilitation in his back and neck.”
(Id.). Using its “judicial experience”
and “common sense, ” the court can reasonably
infer from the nature and extent of Plaintiff's severe
injuries that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. The
court also notes the fact that Plaintiff alleges permanent
injuries; the continual, ongoing nature of these alleged
injuries also supports a finding that the jurisdictional
amount it met. 
Plaintiff's argument to the contrary, a district court
can examine the complaint itself, even when a plaintiff
elects to put an unspecified amount of damages in the
complaint, and make reasonable inferences, using its common
sense and judicial experience, whether the “case stated
in a complaint meets federal jurisdictional
requirements.” Roe, 613 F.3d at 1062. If all a
plaintiff has to do to defeat diversity jurisdiction is to
elect to include an unspecified amount of damages in a
complaint and include “no details of the value of the
claim, ” no diversity case would ever survive removal.
Id. at 1064. “Plaintiffs skilled in this form
of artful pleading could, with this ‘trick,' simply
‘make federal jurisdiction ...