United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ROBERT J. ARMOUR, Plaintiff,
SCHNEIDER NATIONAL CARRIERS, INC., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand to State Court, filed August 29, 2016. (ECF No. 11).
The motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition.
30, 2016, Plaintiff Robert J. Armour filed his Petition for
Personal Injury against Defendants Schneider National
Carriers, Inc. (“Schneider”) and Michael T.
Mullen (“Mullen”) in the Circuit Court of St.
Louis County, Missouri. (Petition, ECF No. 8 (hereinafter
“Complaint” or “Compl.”)). In his
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was driving an automobile
traveling eastbound on Interstate 70 in St. Louis County,
Missouri, on June 22, 2015, when Mullen, while driving a
tractor-trailer owned by Schneider, negligently collided with
the driver's side of Plaintiff's automobile. (Compl.,
¶¶ 4, 6, 9-10). Plaintiff claims that as a result
of Defendants' negligence, he “sustained injuries and
damages to his chest, heart, and body as a whole along with
the ligaments, nerves, tissues, tendons, and muscles.”
(Id., ¶ 12). Plaintiff asserts he sustained
pain of body and mind and incurred medical expenses in the
past, and would sustain such pain and incur such expenses in
the future as well. (Id.). In his prayer for relief,
Plaintiff requests damages, “in the amount that is fair
and reasonable, and not in excess of Seventy-Five Thousand
Dollars ($75, 000.00) to be inserted together with costs
extended herein, and for such other and further relief as
this court deems just and proper in the premises.”
(Id., P. 4).
August 16, 2016, Defendants removed this action to the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri,
claiming diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1332. (Defendants' Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1).
Defendants assert that, notwithstanding Plaintiff's
contention he seeks damages less than $75, 000.00, the amount
in controversy actually exceeds $75, 000.00. Defendants
maintain Plaintiff's claims of past and future pain,
injury and necessary medical care, together with his earlier
settlement demand seeking $125, 000.00, establish the
requisite federal amount in controversy. (Id.,
¶¶ 15-22; ECF No. 1-7).
noted above, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remand to
State Court on August 29, 2016, stating in part as follows:
That pursuant to Workman v. Kawasaki Motors Corporation,
U.S.A., Plaintiff stipulates to the following: 1)
Plaintiff irrevocably agrees that the amount of damages
claimed in this action is and will forever be less than $75,
000.00 exclusive of interest and costs; 2) Plaintiff hereby
irrevocably agrees to the entry of an order of court which
places an irrevocable cap upon the damages which may be
sought by or awarded to Plaintiff in this case. This cap
shall be set at $74, 999.99 exclusive of interest and costs;
and 3) Plaintiff agrees, acknowledges, and understands that
this stipulation is binding upon him and cannot be rescinded
or revoked under any circumstances regardless of any
development which may occur during the investigation,
discovery, pretrial, or trial of this action.
(ECF No. 11, P. 1).
party seeking removal and opposing remand…ha[s] the
burden of establishing federal subject matter
jurisdiction.'” Vermillion v. Cornwell Quality
Tools Co., 2015 WL 4459098, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Jul. 21,
2015) (quoting In re Bus. Men's Assur. Co. of
Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8thCir. 1993)). The
amount in controversy requirement of diversity jurisdiction
is strictly construed, and all doubts concerning federal
jurisdiction are resolved in favor of remand. Lowe v.
First Financial Ins. Co., 2015 WL 753139, at *2 (W.D.
Mo. Feb. 23, 2015); Williams v. National Credit
Adjusters, LLC, 2014 WL 5823457, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Nov.
Eighth Circuit has articulated the standard to apply in
determining whether a federal court has subject matter
jurisdiction in a removed case, as follows: “Where, as
here, the complaint alleges no specific amount of damages or
an amount under the jurisdictional minimum, the removing
party...must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that
the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.” In re
Minnesota Mut. Life Ins. Co. Sales Practices Litigation,
346 F.3d 830, 834 (8th Cir. 2003) (citation
omitted). The Eighth Circuit further has held that,
“[t]his amount-in-controversy requirement is satisfied
when a fact finder could legally conclude, from the pleadings
and the proof adduced to the court before trial, that the
damages that the plaintiff suffered are greater than $75,
000.” Capitol Indem. Corp. v. 1405 Associates,
Inc., 340 F.3d 547, 549 (8th Cir. 2003)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
their response to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand,
Defendants assert his claims meet the amount in controversy
requirement because: 1) he alleges he has suffered and will
suffer severe pain and injury; 2) he alleges he has expended
money for necessary medical care, services, and treatment in
excess of $36, 134.00, and will be required to expend more in
the future; and 3) he has made a demand for settlement in the
amount of $125, 000.00. (Defendants' Joint Response to
Plaintiff's Motion to Remand, PP. 4-5). Upon
consideration, the Court finds Defendants' argument
persuasive. Specifically, in light of the extent to which
Plaintiff's injuries are pled, this Court cannot find, as
a matter of law, that his damages will not exceed $75,
000.00. See Quinn v. Kimble, 228 F.Supp.2d 1038,
1040-41 (E.D. Mo. 2002) (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted) (“The jurisdictional fact in this
case is not whether the damages are greater than the
requisite amount, but whether a fact finder might legally
conclude that they are....As defendant points out, a jury
could award the requisite jurisdictional amount,
given that plaintiff suffered head, neck, and back
injuries; incurred medical expenses and will incur further
such expenses....”). Plaintiff's Motion to Remand
to State Court will therefore be denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Remand to