United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Deginald Nevils moves to remand this case to state court, and
includes a request for his attorneys' fees and costs
under 28 U.S.C. Section 1447(c) [ECF No. 11]. Defendant CIT
Bank, N.A., opposes remand and does not expressly address
Plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees and costs
[ECF No. 15]. Upon careful consideration, the Court denies
Plaintiff's motion to remand, including Plaintiff's
requests for an award of attorneys' fees and
seeks declaratory relief for adverse possession (Count I) and
monetary relief for unjust enrichment (Count II) regarding
approximately four-and-one-half acres of real property
located in Warren County, Missouri allegedly occupied and
maintained by Plaintiff and his relatives for “more
than two decades.” Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in the
Circuit Court of Warren County, Missouri.
to 28 U.S.C. Section 1441(a), Defendant removed the action to
this Court asserting the lawsuit falls within this
Court's original diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
Section 1332(a). In its notice of removal, Defendant
alleges “Plaintiff is a citizen of the State of
Missouri” and Defendant “is a national bank with
its main office and headquarters in Pasadena,
California.” Additionally, Defendant states, Plaintiff
seeks $200, 000.00 in his prayer for relief.Therefore,
Defendant urges, the action satisfies the requirements for
this Court to exercise diversity jurisdiction.
moves to remand the case to state circuit court on the ground
that complete diversity of citizenship between the parties
required by 28 U.S.C. Section 1332(a)(1) does not exist. In
support of his argument, Plaintiff asserts he is a citizen of
Missouri and Defendant does business in St. Louis. Plaintiff
also requests an award of his attorneys' fees and costs
under 28 U.S.C. Section 1447(c) “for being compelled to
respond to CIT Bank, N.A.'s improvident
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). For a civil action
involving state law claims, a defendant “may remove
[the lawsuit] to federal court only if the action originally
could have been filed” in federal court. In re
Prempro Prods. Liab. Litig., 591 F.3d 613, 619
(8thCir. 2010) (citing Phipps v. FDIC,
417 F.3d 1006, 1010 (8th Cir. 2005)). 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).
determine the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in a
removed lawsuit, a district court reviews the state court
petition pending at the time of removal. St. Paul Mercury
Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 291 (1938). A
court resolves all doubts about federal jurisdiction in favor
of remand and, under 28 U.S.C. Section 1447(c), must remand
if it appears the federal court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. In re Prempro Prods. Liab. Litig., 591
F.3d at 620. “The [removing] defendant bears the burden
of establishing federal jurisdiction by a preponderance of
the evidence.” Id.
Diversity jurisdiction - Amount in controversy
parties do not dispute that the amount in controversy
requirement for this Court's diversity jurisdiction is
satisfied. Due to the admonition of the United States Court
of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to the district courts to
“be attentive to the satisfaction of jurisdictional
requirements in all cases, ” Sanders v. Clemco
Indus., 823 F.2d 214, 216 (8th Cir. 1987),
the Court reviews the record to ascertain whether the amount
in controversy requirement is met.
the preponderance standard, ‘[t]he jurisdictional fact
. . . is not whether the damages are greater than
the requisite amount, but whether a fact finder
might legally conclude that they are . . . .'
Kopp[ v. Kopp], 280 F.3d [883, ] 885
[(8th Cir. 2002)].” Bell v. Hershey
Co., 557 F.3d 953, 959 (8th Cir. 2009)
(alterations and emphasis in original); accord Hartis v.
Chicago Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 944
(8th Cir. 2012). A removing defendant may satisfy
its burden by “looking at the face of the complaint
alone, ” because the description of how the controversy
exceeds the requisite minimum amount in controversy
“constitutes ‘a pleading requirement, not a
demand for proof.'” Hartis, 694 F.3d at
946, 944-45 (for second quotation, quoting Spivey v.
Vertrue, Inc., 528 F.3d 982, 986 (7th Cir.
2008)). “If the plaintiff's complaint, filed in
state court, demands monetary relief of a stated sum, that
sum, if asserted in good faith, is ‘deemed to be the
amount in controversy.' [28 U.S.C.] §
1446(c)(2).” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC
v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 551 (2014); accord St. Paul
Mercury Indem. Co., 303 U.S. at 291 (“the status
of the case as disclosed by the plaintiff's complaint is
controlling in the case of a removal”).
unjust enrichment claim in Count II of the petition,
Plaintiff specifically asks that he “be compensated . .
. in an amount in excess of $200, 000.” Defendant does
not challenge the request as asserted in bad faith. The
amount Plaintiff requested in good faith in his petition
exceeds $75, 000. Therefore, the ...