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 Brittney
Fernandez's Motion to Remand (Doc. 8) filed on November
10, 2017. Defendant CP Sanibel, LLC filed a Response in
Opposition (Doc. 12) on November 21, 2017. The Court will
also consider CP Sanibel's Response to its Order to Show
Cause (Doc. 11) filed on November 10, 2017. These matters are
ripe for review
a negligence action which originated in state court. (Docs.
1; 2). Fernandez slipped and fell on CP Sanibel's
premises, a resort and spa, and suffered bodily injury as a
result. (Doc. 2). Fernandez sued CP Sanibel in state court
seeking an unspecified amount of damages. (Doc. 1 at ¶
1). After conducting jurisdictional discovery, CP Sanibel
removed the case based on diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. 2).
In support of its removal, CP Sanibel provided
Fernandez's $100, 000 pre-suit demand letter, which
listed Fernandez's medical bills amounting to $18,
559.01, and Fernandez's discovery responses. (Doc. 1).
Upon sua sponte review, the Court determined that CP
Sanibel did not meet its burden regarding the amount in
controversy. (Doc. 7). The Court issued an Order to Show
Cause giving CP Sanibel “an opportunity to provide
additional evidence to establish jurisdiction.” (Doc.
7). Before CP Sanibel filed a response, Fernandez filed her
own Motion to Remand arguing for remand based on her
discovery responses. (Doc. 8). CP Sanibel then filed its
Response to the Order to Show Cause (Doc. 11) and a Response
to the Motion to Remand (Doc. 12). CP Sanibel provided
additional medical records illustrating Fernandez's
condition and the potential for further treatment. (Docs. 11;
12). After careful review, the Court finds that CP Sanibel
failed to meet its burden and remands this action to state
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and it is to be
presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction.
See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A federal court is
required to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction sua
sponte whenever it may be lacking. U. of S. Alabama
v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999).
Diversity jurisdiction exists when the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000 and the parties' citizenship is diverse.
28 U.S.C. § 1332. If a defendant removes a case based on
diversity jurisdiction, the defendant has the burden to prove
by a preponderance of the evidence that the jurisdictional
amount is met. See Roe v. Michelin N.A.,
Inc., 613 F.3d 1058, 1061 (11th Cir. 2010). If any doubt
exists about jurisdiction, the Court should resolve it in
favor of remand. U. of S. Alabama, 168 F.3d at 411.
only issue before this Court is whether CP Sanibel
established the requisite jurisdictional amount. CP Sanibel
argues that it has met its burden based on Ferandez's
pre-suit demand letter, medical bills, and medical records.
(Docs. 11; 12). Fernandez argues that remand is appropriate
because she is seeking less than $75, 000, and her discovery
answers reflects that. (Doc. 8).
noted in this Court's previous order, a pre-suit demand
letter is entitled to little weight unless it is properly
supported by medical bills and diagnoses. See
Hernandez v. Burlington Coat Factory of Florida,
LLC, 2:15-CV-403-FTM-29CM, 2015 WL 5008863, at *2 (M.D.
Fla. Aug. 20, 2015). The Court previously found that
Fernandez's pre-suit demand letter was not supported
because the medical bills fell far short of establishing the
amount in controversy, and the unspecific injuries did little
to support an amount in controversy over $75, 000. In
response, CP Sanibel provided additional medical records,
referenced in the pre-suit demand letter, to support its
the additional medical records establish that future medical
treatment is a possibility, and that Fernandez has a
permanent impairment rating. Yet the possibility of future
medical treatment is based, in part, on Fernandez's
failure to improve or potential aggravation of her symptoms
or injuries. (Doc. 11-1; 11-2; 11-3). Moreover, the level of
care, whether continued chiropractic treatment or even the
necessity of surgical intervention, remains uncertain. That
level of uncertainty does not lend itself well to a
determination as to the amount in controversy.
the extent that further medical treatment is necessary, CP
Sanibel has not provided evidence or even a theoretical value
as to the cost of future care. And this Court may not
speculate as to the potential cost of this already uncertain
future medical treatment when neither the Notice of Removal
nor accompanying documents establish the cost. See Lowery
v. Alabama Power Co., 483 F.3d 1184, 1215 (11th Cir.
2007) (finding that “neither defendant nor the court
may speculate in an attempt to make up for [a] notice's
failings.”). Under these specific circumstances, the
Court cannot state that the current medical bills coupled
with potential future treatment, which has not been
quantified, and Fernandez's impairment rating establish
the amount in controversy.
contrary to CP Sanibel's position, Fernandez's
discovery responses indicate that she is seeking less than
$75, 000. While this Court does not find these responses
determinative, it considers them one part of the whole, which
contributes to the doubt in this case. See
Pretka v. Kolter City Plaza II, Inc., 608 F.3d 744,
753-755 (11th Cir. 2010) (finding that courts can consider a
wide array of evidence). Because the law favors remand when
doubt exists, the Court will grant Fernandez's Motion to
Remand and remand this case to state court. See
U. of S. Alabama, 168 F.3d at 411.