United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Burlington Coat Factory Direct
Corporation’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint or
Alternatively for a More Definite Statement (Doc.
3). Plaintiff Giovannia Maltese never responded, and the
time to do so expired. Also here is Maltese’s Motion to
Remand to State Court (Doc. 14) and
Burlington’s Response in Opposition (Doc. 17).
For these reasons, the Court grants in part the Motion to
Dismiss and denies the Motion to Remand.
a slip-and-fall negligence case. (Doc. 4). Maltese
went to a Burlington store. (Doc. 4 at 1). While
there, Maltese “slipped and fell because the Defendant
negligently maintained premises by allowing clothes tag(s)
and/or other transitory foreign substances to accumulate on
the floor.” (Doc. 4 at 2). Those are the only
relevant facts in the Complaint. (Doc. 4 at 2). The
balance of the pleading is a few conclusory statements of
elements for an unlabeled cause of action. (Doc. 4 at
Motion is taken in turn below.
Motion to Remand
the Court denies Maltese’s Motion to Remand this case.
(Doc. 14). This Motion offers a smorgasbord of
reasons for denial. But the Court sticks to one procedural
and one substantive.
the Motion violates Local Rule 3.01(g) because Maltese failed
to confer with Burlington before filing. M.D. Fla. R.
3.01(g). Thus, the Motion should be denied. See
Volusia Cty. Cattlemen’s Ass’n v. W. World
Ins., No. 6:15-cv-1239-Orl-41DAB, 2015 WL 13554966, at
*1 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 28, 2015).
the Motion to Remand goes to jurisdiction, however, the Court
considers the merits all the same. See Arbaugh
v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (Courts
“have an independent obligation to determine whether
subject-matter jurisdiction exists.”); 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c). Courts construe removal statutes strictly and
resolve all jurisdictional doubts in favor of remand.
Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405,
411 (11th Cir. 1999). Diversity is the jurisdictional basis.
(Doc. 1). And the parties only dispute the amount in
defendant may remove a case from state to federal court if
the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of
interests and costs, and complete diversity exists. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1332(a); 1441(a). When a
complaint does not specify damages- like here-the removing
party must prove amount in controversy by preponderance of
the evidence. Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., 483 F.3d
1184, 1208 (11th Cir. 2007). “The substantive
jurisdictional requirements of removal do not limit the types
of evidence that may be used.” Pretka v. Kolter
City Plaza II, Inc., 608 F.3d 744, 755 (11th Cir.
2010).Among the evidence courts can consider are
“affidavits, declarations, and other
documentation.” Id. But federal law also
“allows consideration of discovery responses.”
Harrison v. Red Bull Distribution Co., No.
2:19-cv-17-FtM-99MRM, 2019 WL 1123691, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Mar.
12, 2019); see also Rowe v. U.S. Bancorp,
569 Fed.Appx. 701, 703 (11th Cir. 2014)
(“[T]he court may consider facts alleged in the notice
of removal [and] judicial admissions made by the
plaintiffs.” (citation omitted)).
the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional limit by
a preponderance of the evidence for several reasons. Most
notably, Maltese admitted in state court that both amount in
controversy and damages exceed $75,000. (Doc. 17-2).
Maltese argues a state procedural rule precludes
consideration of that discovery response here. But Florida
procedural law does not apply. E.g., Castleberry
v. Goldome Credit Corp., 408 F.3d 773, 783 (11th Cir.
2005). And federal courts often allow removing defendants to
rely on admissions that plaintiffs made in state court.
E.g., Red Bull, 2019 WL 1123691, at *2;
Plotkin v. Target Corp., No.
15-cv-62427-GAYLES/Turnoff, 2016 WL 1752815, at *1 (S.D.
Fla. May 3, 2016). So the Court holds Maltese to the
admissions. That is not the only evidence of amount in
controversy exceeding the jurisdictional amount. Buttressing
the admissions are nondispositive facts like Maltese’s
$250,000 settlement demand and refusal to limit damages to
$75,000. (Docs. 17-1; 17-2; 17-5);
see Ralph v. Target Corp., No.
6:09-cv-1328-Orl-19KRS, 2009 WL 3200680, at *2-3 (M.D.
Fla. Sept. 30, 2009) (considering a settlement demand
and refusal to stipulate before denying remand).
the amount in controversy over $75,000 and diversity of the
parties, the Court has jurisdiction. So the Motion to Remand
is denied. (Doc. 14).