United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand (Doc. 10) filed on August 3, 2017 and Plaintiff's
Corrected Supplement to Motion to Remand (Doc. 15). Defendant
filed a Response in Opposition (Doc. 16) and Plaintiff
replied (Doc. 24). For the reasons set forth below, the
motion is denied.
9, 2017, Plaintiff Diego Arboleda filed a Complaint (Doc. 2)
in State Court against Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company involving coverage for injuries Arboleda
sustained in a car accident with State Farm's insured,
George Percifield. Before filing suit, the underlying
tortfeasor tendered his bodily injury policy limits of $50,
000 to Plaintiff.
Farm timely removed the case to this Court, citing diversity
jurisdiction as the basis for removal. (Doc. 1). Arboleda now
moves to remand the case because State Farm has not
established the Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
(Doc. 10). Plaintiff's motion to remand to state court
challenges Defendant's showing that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). District courts, therefore, remand to state
court any case that was “without the necessary
jurisdiction.” Estate of Ayres ex rel. Strugnell v.
Beaver, 48 F.Supp.2d 1335, 1339 (M.D. Fla. 1999).
“Where there is any doubt concerning jurisdiction of
the federal court on removal, the case should be
remanded.” Id. (internal quotations omitted).
The party seeking removal must meet the burden of satisfying
the jurisdictional requirements for removal. See
Williams v. Best Buy Co., Inc., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319
(11th Cir. 2001).
removal statutes permit a defendant to move a case from state
court to federal court provided the case could have brought
in federal court. See28 U.S.C. § 1441
(governing removal), 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (establishing the
procedure for accomplishing removal). Federal courts have
original jurisdiction if the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and there is
complete diversity of citizenship among the parties.
See28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); Morrison v.
Allstate Indem. Co., 228 F.3d 1255, 1261 (11th Cir.
as here, a plaintiff has made an unspecified demand for
damages in her Complaint, the removing defendants must prove
by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in
controversy more likely than not exceeds the $75, 000
jurisdictional requirement. Leonard v. Enterprise Rent a
Car, 279 F.3d 957, 972 (11th Cir. 2002);
Williams, 269 F.3d at 1319; Kirkland v. Midland
Mortgage Co., 243 F.3d at 1281 n.5; Tapscott v. MS
Dealer Svc. Corp., 77 F.3d 1353, 1357 (11th Cir. 1996),
overruled on other grounds, Cohen v. Office
Depot, Inc., 204 F.3d 1069, 1072 (11th Cir. 2000),
cert. denied, 531 U.S. 957 (2000). Thus, the issue
here is whether Defendant has shown that it is more likely
than not that as of July 19, 2017, the amount in controversy
exceeded $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.
Ultimately, the question is whether the notice of removal
plausibly alleges that “the amount in controversy at
the time of removal” exceeds $75, 000. S. Fla.
Wellness, Inc. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 745 F.3d 1312, 1315
(11th Cir. 2014).
asserting the amount in controversy exceeded $75, 000 at the
time of removal, Defendant relies on Plaintiff's May 2,
2017 and June 7, 2017 pre-suit demands (Doc. 1-1, Doc. 1-2),
seeking the combined policy limits of $150, 000 to settle the
case. To support the demands, Plaintiff described the
accident, and listed his medical bills, which amounted to
$31, 564.38, excluding charges of Gulf Coast Medical
Center for a right hip surgery. The May 2, 2017 demand also
enclosed copies of medical records and bills that
specifically identify the injuries suffered by Arboleda.
(Doc. 1-1 at 5.) Plaintiff also attached a $50, 028.61 bill
from Lee Memorial Health System associated with the hip
surgery to the June 7, 2017 demand letter. (Doc. 1-2 at 3-4).
Defendant states in its Notice of Removal that combining the
representations made in both Demands, Plaintiff's medical
expenses totaled $81, 592.99 at the time of removal. (Doc. 1,
moving for remand, Plaintiff argues that the amount of
medical expenses should be reduced/set-off by the payment to
Plaintiff of PIP benefits, health insurance benefits, or
monies from other collateral sources. In support, Plaintiff
offers medical bills and statements, showing that the amount
of charges Plaintiff actually incurred are
significantly less after the health insurance claims were
processed and other amounts were reduced prior to the date of
pre-suit demand letter “supported by documented medical
bills and specific medical diagnoses[ ]...may be sufficient
to plausibly allege that the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000.” Hernandez v. Burlington Coat Factory of
Fla., LLC, No. 2:15-CV-403-FTM-29CM, 2015 WL 5008863, at
*2 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 20, 2015) (citing Scott v. Home Depot
U.S.A., Inc., No. 11-62426-CIV, 2012 WL 86986, at *3
(S.D. Fla. Jan. 11, 2012)). Here, Plaintiff's pre-suit
demands not only references medical bills totaling $81,
592.99 and attaches supporting documentation, it also lists
multiple medically-diagnosed conditions. Accordingly, the
Court finds that Plaintiffs' pre-suit demands credibly
supports the conclusion that the value of Mr. Arboleda's
claim exceeded $75, 000 at the time of removal. Id.;
see also Moraguez v. Walgreen Co., No.
6:15-CV-1579-ORL-28TBS, 2015 WL 7863008, at *2 (M.D. Fla.
Dec. 3, 2015). Because Defendant has shown by a preponderance
of the evidence that the amount in controversy more likely
than not exceeds $75, 000 at the time of removal, the Motion
to Remand is denied.
although the Notice of Removal states that Defendant was
served with the Complaint on June 22, 2017 (Doc. 1, ¶
9), the Court notes that no answer or other responsive
pleading has ...