United States District Court, W.D. Missouri.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE
case was removed from state court on November 14, 2016.
Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand, which asserts
that Defendant's removal of this case was untimely under
the federal rules. (Doc. 5.) Defendant opposes the motion.
(Doc. 6.) Plaintiff did not file a reply. For the following
reasons, the Court concludes that Defendant's removal of
this case was timely. Plaintiff's motion is therefore
April 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed this suit against Defendant
in the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri, alleging a
cause of action for negligence arising out of a car accident
that occurred between Plaintiff and Defendant. (Doc. 1-1.)
Pertinent to the motion to remand, Plaintiff's petition
seeks “judgment against Defendant in an amount in
excess of $25, 000[.]” (Id.)
filed a Notice of Removal on November 14, 2016, based on
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. 1.)
Defendant's Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiff is a
Missouri citizen and that Defendant is a Kansas citizen.
Defendant further alleges that the amount in controversy in
this action, exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds the sum
of $75, 000, but that he only became aware that the case is
removable in November 2016. Defendant reports that he was
notified that the case is removable first by an email from
Plaintiff's counsel on November 10, 2016, and again on
November 11, 2016, when he received Plaintiff's Answers
to Defendant's First Interrogatories.
motion, Plaintiff contends that Defendant's Notice of
Removal is untimely because he failed to file it within the
“thirty-day time deadline.” (Doc. 5.) As
discussed more fully below, the Court rejects this argument
and denies the motion to remand.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Ark.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield v. Little Rock Cardiology
Clinic, P.A., 551 F.3d 812, 816 (8th Cir. 2009). Removal
statutes are strictly construed against the intrusion on the
right of state courts to decide their own controversies, and
all doubts about the propriety of removal are resolved in
favor of remand. See City of Indianapolis v. Chase
Nat'l Bank, 314 U.S. 63, 76 (1941); Transit Cas.
Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London,
119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir. 1997). Stemming from the strict
construction requirement, the party seeking to invoke the
court's jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction. See In re Prempro Prods. Liab.
Litig., 591 F.3d 613, 620 (8th Cir. 2010).
U.S.C. § 1441(a) allows an action to be removed if the
district court has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a) provides that the district court has original
jurisdiction in a civil matter between diverse citizens in
which the amount-in-controversy is at least $75, 000. Removal
is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1446. “The court's
jurisdiction is measured at the time of removal.”
Grawitch v. Charter Commc'ns, Inc., 750 F.3d
956, 959 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted).
the timeliness of removal, 28 U.S.C. §1446(b) provides a
thirty-day deadline by which a defendant must file a notice
of removal. If the case stated by the initial pleading is
removable, the running of the removal clock is triggered.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1) (“The notice
of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall be filed
within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant . . . of a
copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for
relief[.]”) The Eighth Circuit has held that the
thirty-day deadline is triggered by the initial pleading only
when the initial pleading explicitly discloses that an amount
in excess of $75, 000 is at stake. Knudson v. Sys.
Painters, Inc., 634 F.3d 968, 974 (8th Cir. 2011)
(citing In re Willis, 228 F.3d 896, 897 (8th Cir.
2000)). If, however, the case stated by the initial pleading
is not removable, the running of the removal clock is not
triggered until the “receipt by the defendant, through
service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended pleading,
motion, order or other paper from which it may first be
ascertained that the case is one which is or has become
removable.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3).
because Plaintiff's initial pleading demands only an
unspecified amount of damages in excess of $25, 000,
Plaintiff's petition does not trigger the removal clock
under Section 1446(b)(1). Therefore, the question is whether
Defendant's Notice of Removal was timely filed under
Section 1446(b)(3) within thirty days after his receipt
“of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or
other paper” from which Defendant could ascertain that
the case seeks damages over the jurisdictional
amount-in-controversy. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3). The Court
concludes that it was.
response to the Motion to Remand, Defendant states that he
first received notice that the amount in controversy in this
case exceeds $75, 000 in an email from Plaintiff's
counsel, dated November 10, 2016. Defendant further states
that on November 11, 2016, he received Plaintiff's
Answers to Defendant's First Interrogatories to
Plaintiff, which state “Plaintiff's damages consist
of past and future medical bills and pain and suffering in
excess of $75, 000.” Defendant maintains that he did
not know that this case was removable until receipt of the
email from Plaintiff's counsel and Plaintiff's
if Defendant's receipt of either the email or the
discovery responses can be treated as a triggering event
under Section 1446(b)(3), Defendant's Notice of Removal
was filed well-within the applicable thirty-day deadline.
Section 1446(c)(3)(A) expressly states that responses to
discovery are to be treated as “other paper” for
purposes of Section 1446(b)(3). As such, regardless of
whether the earlier email from Plaintiff's counsel can be
treated as “other paper, ” Defendant's Notice
of Removal was filed well-within thirty days of his receipt
of Plaintiff's discovery responses, which ...