United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
G. BYRON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Remand and Supporting Memorandum of Law and Motion for
Attorney's Fees and Costs (Doc. 9), filed April 18, 2017.
On May 1, 2017, Defendant responded in opposition. (Doc. 14).
Upon consideration, Plaintiff's motion will be granted in
part and denied in part.
case arises out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on
September 9, 2014 between Plaintiff, Kimberly Miller, and
another driver. Plaintiff commenced this action against the
other driver in state court on February 9, 2015. Plaintiff
thereafter amended her Complaint on February 15, 2016 to add
Defendant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance. In her
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the other driver
was negligent in her operation of a motor vehicle, and
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages from Defendant. Defendant
removed the action to this Court on April 10, 2017. Plaintiff
now moves to remand the case back to the state court, arguing
that Defendant cannot demonstrate federal subject matter
jurisdiction at the time of removal.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) authorizes a defendant to remove a
civil action from state court to federal court where the
controversy lies within the federal court's original
jurisdiction. In this case, Defendant removed the action
because it believes the parties' controversy lies within
the Court's diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). Plaintiff disagrees, and moves to remand on the
ground that the amount in controversy in this case does not
exceed the jurisdictional threshold of $75,
case is removed from state court, the removing party bears
the burden of establishing federal subject matter
jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. See
McCormick v. Aderholt, 293 F.3d 1254, 1257 (11th Cir.
2002) (per curiam). Subject matter jurisdiction must be
assessed at the time of removal. Sierminski v. Transouth
Fin. Corp., 216 F.3d 945, 949 (11th Cir. 2000). Because
removal from a state court constitutes an infringement upon
state sovereignty, the removal requirements must be strictly
construed and “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
Defendant fails to demonstrate that the amount in controversy
exceeded $75, 000 at the time of removal. Defendant relies
exclusively on the allegations of Plaintiff's Second
Amended Complaint and the exhibits attached thereto. However,
as noted by the Court, the state court had not granted
Plaintiff's motion to file the Second Amended Complaint
at the time Defendant filed its Notice of Removal. As a
result, the Court is conscribed to the allegations of the
Amended Complaint, which currently serves as Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint offers nothing more than conclusory claims
of injury. In fact, it appears that the Amended Complaint
does not actually allege a claim against Defendant. In any
event, the Court cannot conclude by a preponderance of the
evidence that the amount in controversy between the parties
exceeded $75, 000 at the time of removal. The Court will
therefore remand this case to the state court. The Court
declines to award attorney's fees and costs to Plaintiff;
the Court finds no indication in the record that Defendant
removed this case “for the purpose of prolonging
litigation and imposing costs” on Plaintiff.
Bujanowski v. Kocontes, 359 F. App'x 112, 113
(11th Cir. 2009) (per curiam).
aforementioned reasons, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as
Plaintiff's Motion for Remand and for Attorney's Fees
and Costs (Doc. 9) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
case is REMANDED to the Circuit Court of the Fifth Judicial
Circuit in and for Citrus County, Florida. Plaintiff's
request for attorney's fees and costs is DENIED.
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to send a certified copy of this
Order to the Clerk of Court for the Circuit Court of the