United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion
to Remand to State Court (Doc. 14) filed on December
19, 2017. Defendant Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. filed a
Response in Opposition (Doc. 19) on December 29,
2017. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.
August 22, 2016, Plaintiff Benjamin Spector (Plaintiff or
Spector) was operating his 2008 Suzuki motorcycle when it
suddenly shut off causing loss of control and resulted in
injury to Plaintiff. (Doc. 2). Plaintiff alleges
that his model of motorcycle has suffered in the past from
defect problems with the ignition switch. (Id.) On
October 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Pure Bill of
Discovery in State Court (Petition) against Defendant Suzuki
Motor of America, Inc. (Defendant), in order to obtain
discovery related to ignition switch defects to aid him in
determining the nature of any wrongful acts and to determine
the exact manufacturer of the motorcycle. (Id.)
timely removed the case to this Court, citing diversity
jurisdiction as the basis for removal, arguing that the
Petition alleges the basis for a products liability action
that exceeds $75, 000 in damages. (Doc. 1). Before filing the
Petition, Plaintiff sent Defendant a pre-suit demand letter
dated July 26, 2017, which Defendant submitted in support of
its Notice of Removal. (Doc. 1-3). The letter states that
Plaintiff's medical bills total $68, 218.87, not
including any outstanding medical liens. (Id. at 4).
Plaintiff also stated in the letter that he will
“suffer from varying amounts of pain for the rest of
his life, ” and future employment will suffer because
of his disabilities. (Id.) Plaintiff's letter
concluded by demanding $275, 000 and “med pay
now moves to remand the case because Defendant has not
established the Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
(Doc. 14). Plaintiff's motion to remand to state court
challenges whether a Petition for Pure Bill of Discovery,
which alleges no monetary amount of damages, is removable,
and whether Defendant may use the pre-suit demand letter to
show 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.
removal statutes permit a defendant to move a case from state
court to federal court provided the case could have brought
in federal court at the time of removal. See 28 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. See 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a); Morrison v. Allstate Indem.
Co., 228 F.3d 1255, 1261 (11th Cir. 2000).
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.
531 U.S. 957 (2000). Thus, the issue here is whether
Defendant has shown that it is more likely than not that as
of November 24, 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 at the time of remvoal.
S. Fla. Wellness, Inc. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 745
F.3d 1312, 1315 (11th Cir. 2014).
bill of discovery is an equitable remedy under state law
which serves “to obtain the disclosure of facts within
the defendant's knowledge, or deeds or writings or other
things in his custody, in aid of the prosecution or defense
of an action pending or about to be commenced in some other
court.” Mesia v. Fla. Agr. and Mechanical Univ.
School of Law, 605 F.Supp.2d 1230, 1232 (M.D. Fla. 2009)
(quoting First Nat'l Bank v. Dade-Broward Co.,
171 So. 510, 510-11 (Fla. 1937)). As this is a state law
cause of action, Plaintiff's Petition contains no readily
apparent federal question pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331
providing this Court with jurisdiction; however, Defendant
alleges diversity jurisdiction was present at the time of
removal. (Doc. 1).
to Plaintiff's assertion, a pure bill of discovery may be
subject to removal. Indeed, Florida courts treat bills of
discovery as the first step in a civil action and allow the
petition to be amended to state a cause of action at law.
Surface v.Town of Bay Harbor Islands, 625
So.2d 109, 109 (Fla. 3d DCA 1993); Florida Rule of Civil
Procedure 1.040 (“[t]here shall be one form of action
to be known as “civil action”); Perez v.
Citibank, 328 F.Supp.2d 1374, 1378 (S.D. Fla. 2004)
(noting that Florida courts consider bills ...