United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a motion to remand [ECF No. 13]
filed by Plaintiffs Rochelle Evans-Mitchell and Laudell
Gatlin-Bey. By their motion, Plaintiffs request the Court to
remand the case to the state court from which it was removed,
the 22nd Judicial Circuit. Plaintiffs also ask the
Court “to award Plaintiffs court costs, expenses and
attorney's fees incurred in bringing this motion,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. [§] 1447(c).” In response,
Defendants Brett Healy and Walt's Drive-A-Way Service,
Inc. consent to remand and state “Plaintiffs have
agreed, in writing, to withdraw and waive their request for
costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447.” [ECF No. 15.]
case arises out of a motor vehicle collision in the City of
St. Louis during which Defendant Healy, an employee of
Defendant Drive-A-Way, drove a vehicle into the lane
Plaintiffs were in, allegedly striking Plaintiffs'
vehicle and causing Plaintiffs' injuries and property
damage. (See Pls.' Pet'n [ECF No. 7].)
Plaintiffs seek damages in Count I based on Defendant
Healy's alleged negligence and in Count II based on
Defendant Drive-A-Way's alleged negligence. (Pls.'
Pet'n at 3-4.) Additionally, Plaintiffs request monetary
relief from both Defendants in Count III on the ground the
accident occurred while Defendant Healy acted in the course
and scope of his employment with Defendant Drive-A-Way.
(Id. at 5.)
filed their petition in the Circuit Court of the City of St.
Louis, Missouri. Plaintiffs alleged they are citizens of
Missouri and Defendants are citizens of Indiana. (Pet'n
¶¶ 2, 3.) With regard to their damages, Plaintiffs
alleged each “suffered injuries to [the] neck, back and
mental trauma[, ] . . . property damage, past and future
medical expenses, mental anguish, lost opportunities, pain
and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.”
(Pls.' Pet'n ¶¶ 13, 14, 15, 21.) Plaintiffs
judgment against [each Defendant] for a reasonable sum of
money in excess of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25, 000.00)
that will fairly and reasonably compensate Plaintiffs for
their injuries and damages; for their costs herein expended
and incurred; for prejudgment interest; and for such other
and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
(Pls.' Pet'n “Wherefore” Para. at 5.)
removed the lawsuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 on the
basis of the Court's diversity jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1332. (Defs.' Notice of Removal ¶ 8
[ECF No. 1].) Defendants asserted the lawsuit “was
between citizens of different states and the [amount] in
controversy exceeds the sum of $75, 000.00 exclusive of
interest and costs.” Id. In support of
removal, Defendants stated Plaintiffs were citizens of
Missouri and Defendants were citizens of Indiana, and
Defendants had “a good faith belief . . . that the
amount of damages sought by at least one Plaintiff
individually exceeds $75, 000.00, exclusive of costs and
interest.” (Defs.' Notice of Removal ¶¶
move to remand on the grounds that their petition does not
specify, and Defendants have not proved, that the case
involves an amount of damages exceeding the more-than-$75,
000.00 minimum required for the Court to exercise diversity
jurisdiction. (Pls.' Mot. Remand [ECF No. 13] and Mem.
Supp. [ECF No. 14].) In support of their argument that they
seek less than the $75, 000.00 minimum, Plaintiffs filed an
affidavit averring that Plaintiffs and their attorney
“will not seek more than $75, 00.00 in damages,
including attorney's fees, in this matter, ”
“will not accept any money awarded in excess of $75,
000.00 and will therefore waive any amount awarded over and
above $75, 000.00.” (Aff. attached to Pls.' Mot.
Remand [ECF No. 13-1].) Plaintiffs urge the Court to consider
Plaintiffs' affidavit because it clarifies the amount in
controversy, citing Jackson v. Fitness Resource Group,
Inc., No. 4:12CV0986 DDN, 2012 WL 2873668 (E.D. Mo. July
12, 2012). In addition to remand, Plaintiffs seek an award of
“court costs, expenses and attorney's fees
incurred” in pursuing their motion to remand.
See 28 U.S.C. 1447(c).
consent to the remand due to Plaintiffs' filing of
“their notarized stipulation limiting damages to less
than the applicable amount in controversy.” (Defs.'
Notice of Consent to Pls.' Mot. Remand ¶¶ 3, 4
[ECF No. 15].) Additionally, Defendants state
“Plaintiffs have agreed, in writing, to withdraw and
waive their request for costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1447.” (Id. ¶ 5.)
defendant may remove to federal court any state court civil
action over which the federal court could exercise original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A federal court has
original diversity jurisdiction over civil actions between
citizens of different states when the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a)(1). A federal court's jurisdiction is
measured at the time of filing, or, for a removed case, at
the time of removal. See Schubert v. Auto Owners Ins.
Co., 649 F.3d 817, 822-23 (8th Cir. 2011).
defendant's removal notice “need not contain
evidentiary submissions.” Dart Cherokee Basin
Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 551 (2014).
In the Eighth Circuit, however, a party seeking to remove a
case not involving the Class Action Fairness Act “has
the burden to prove the requisite amount [for diversity
jurisdiction] by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Bell v. Hershey Co., 557 F.3d 953, 956
(8th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted)
(quoting Advance Am. Servicing of Ark., Inc. v.
McGinnis, 526 F.3d 1170, 1173 (8thCir.
2008)); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(B).
post-removal events “do not oust the district
court's jurisdiction once it has attached, ”
St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab. Co., 303
U.S. 283, 292 (1938), the court may consider subsequent
events showing “that, in fact, the required amount was
or was not in controversy at the” time federal court
jurisdiction was invoked, Schubert, 649 F.3d at 823
(internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting State Farm
Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Powell, 87 F.3d 93, 97
(3rd Cir. 1996)). Post-removal affidavits may,
therefore, be ...