United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
D. WHITTEMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the court on remand from the Eleventh Circuit
Court of Appeals for the limited purpose of determining
whether this court had diversity jurisdiction over the action
(Dkt. 5 8). Pursuant to court order, Defendant filed its
Notice of Compliance addressing diversity jurisdiction (Dkt.
61). Upon consideration, I find that diversity jurisdiction
jurisdiction exists when a lawsuit is between citizens of
different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing the facts necessary for jurisdiction.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994).
of the Parties
Notice of Removal (Dkt. 1) and Complaint filed in state court
(Dkt. 2) demonstrate that the parties are diverse. Plaintiff
is a resident of Hillsborough County, Florida (Dkt. 1 ¶
9; Dkt. 2 ¶ 2). Defendant Pro Guard Coatings, Inc. is
incorporated in and has its place of business in
Pennsylvania. (Dkt. 1 ¶ 10; Dkt. 2 ¶ 3). Diversity
is further evidenced by the records provided by Defendant in
response to this court's order (Dkt. 61). These records
include, but are not limited to, (1) "Lexis Nexis Public
Record Search documents (Dkt. 61-1, Exhibit A)," (2)
"Hillsborough County Tax Collector records (Dkt. 61-2,
Exhibit B)," and (3) "Pennsylvania Secretary of
State corporate records, including Defendant's official
Articles of Incorporation and Fictitious-Name Registration
(Dkt. 61-3, Exhibit C)." (Dkt. 61 ¶ 4).
the record establishes that at the time of removal, Plaintiff
was a citizen of Florida and Defendant was incorporated and
had its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, making
the parties diverse.
the jurisdictional amount is not facially apparent from the
complaint, the court should look to the notice of removal and
may require evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at
the time the case was removed." Pretka v. Kolter
City Plaza II, Inc., 608 F.3d at 754 (quoting
Williams v. Best Buy Co., Inc., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319
(11th Cir. 2001)). To satisfy its burden of proving the
requisite jurisdictional amount, the removing defendant may
introduce "summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to
the amount in controversy at the time of removal."
Sierminski v. Transouth Fin. Corp. , 216 F.3d 945,
949 (11th Cir. 2000). While the amount in controversy may not
be established by speculation or guesswork, the removing
defendant is not required to prove the amount "beyond
all doubt or to banish all uncertainty about it."
Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754. It is sufficient if the
evidence "shows the extent of the damages as a matter of
just and reasonable inference." Maiz v. Virani,
253 F.3d 641, 664 (11th Cir. 2001).
the amount in controversy is not apparent from the face of
the Complaint, since Plaintiff merely alleges damages
exceeding $ 15, 000, to satisfy the jurisdictional amount for
a Florida Circuit Court case (Dkt. 2, ¶1). Accordingly,
the Notice of Removal and any record is examined to determine
whether the requisite amount on controversy is met. See
Roe v. Michelin N. Am., Inc. , 613 F.3d 1058, 1061 (11th
Notice of Removal, Defendant contends that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000:
In this case, the Complaint includes claims by Plaintiff for
permanent injuries resulting from exposure to chemicals
contained in a product manufactured by Defendant, requiring
treatment and medication to manage symptoms for the rest of
his life, pain and suffering, bodily injury, aggravation of a
pre-existing condition, mental anguish, loss of capacity for
the enjoyment of life, past and future medical and nursing
care expenses and treatment, past and future hospital
expenses, and loss of ability to earn income, including past
and future wage loss. Based on the foregoing, it is clear
that Plaintiff claims entitlement to monetary damages in
excess of $75, 000.00.
(Dkt. 1 ¶ 14). Additionally, Defendant proffers
Plaintiffs pre-suit demand letter seeking $1, 000, 000 in
damages (Dkt. 61-4, Exhibit D), and his medical records (Dkt.
Circuit has explained that in the context of removal,
"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. And "reasonable
deductions, reasonable inferences, or other reasonable
extrapolations" may be made in determining whether
removal was proper. Pretka, 608 F.3d at 752.
Considering the record evidence, it is apparent that the
requisite amount in controversy is met.
Plaintiffs pre-suit demand of $1, 000, 000 is evidence of an
amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000. See AAA
Abachman Enters., Inc. v. Stanley Steemer Int'l,
Inc.,268 Fed.Appx. 864, 866 (11th Cir. 2008)
(settlement demand exceeding $75, 000 may be considered in
determining whether diversity jurisdiction exists). The
pre-suit demand includes a detailed account of Plaintiff s
background, medical visits, treatment, and eventual diagnosis
of oromandibular dystonia. (Dkt. 61-4, pp. 2-4). The demand
asserts that Plaintiffs "doctors have explained that
these conditions are likely permanent, and all they will be
able to do is help [Plaintiff] manage the symptoms for the
rest of his life." (Id. at p. 4). The demand
also includes a section dedicated to damages detailing
Plaintiffs physical and psychological ...