United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING SUBJECT MATTER
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is Defendant Hyatt Corporation d/b/a Hyatt Regency
Bellevue's (“Hyatt”) notice of removal. (NOR
(Dkt. # 1).) For the reasons stated below, Hyatt's notice
of removal fails to establish this court's subject matter
jurisdiction. The court, therefore, ORDERS Hyatt to SHOW
CAUSE, within fourteen (14) days of the date of this order,
why this matter should not be remanded to state court.
court has “an ongoing obligation to be sure that
jurisdiction exists.” Matheson v. Progressive
Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003).
Accordingly, the court reviews each case before it for the
existence of federal jurisdiction. Sparta Surgical Corp.
v. Nat'l Ass'n of Sec. Dealers, Inc., 159 F.3d
1209, 1211 (9th Cir. 1998) (“If a district court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction over a removed action, it has the
duty to remand it . . . .”). The removal statute is
strictly construed, Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v.
Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941), and there exists a
“strong presumption against” removal
jurisdiction, Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566
(9th Cir. 1992). Thus, any doubt as to the right of removal
is resolved in favor of remand. Id. In determining
whether jurisdiction has been established, courts may
consider facts “presented in the removal petition as
well as ‘any summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to
the amount in controversy at the time of removal.'”
Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090 (quoting Singer v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th
alleges that this court has federal diversity jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) and that removal of the
action from state to federal court is proper pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). (NOR ¶¶ 5-6.) In order to
invoke the court's subject matter jurisdiction on
removal, Hyatt bears the burden of establishing that there is
complete diversity of citizenship between itself and
Plaintiff Kathryn Lister, and that the amount in controversy
exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000.00. See 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1); see also Urbino v. Orkin Servs.
of Cal., Inc., 726 F.3d 1118, 1121-22 (9th Cir. 2013)
(“Where . . . it is unclear or ambiguous from the face
of a state-court complaint whether the requisite amount in
controversy is pled, . . . the removing defendant bears the
burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional
threshold.” (internal citations and quotation marks
omitted)); Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of
Lhotka ex rel. Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1106-07 (9th Cir.
2010) (“[I]n a case that has been removed . . . under
28 U.S.C. § 1441 on the basis of diversity jurisdiction,
. . . the defendant . . . has the burden to prove, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that removal is
proper.”). The issue before the court is whether Hyatt
has met its burden with respect to the amount in controversy.
alleges that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00
“[b]ased upon [its] counsel's experience and the
allegations of the Complaint.” (NOR ¶ 6.) In the
complaint, Ms. Lister alleges that she “slipped on [a]
wet surface and fell to the floor” causing her injury.
(Compl. (Dkt. # 1-2) ¶ 2.4.) She also alleges that she
lost consciousness. (Id.) She claims that she is
entitled to an award of damages, prejudgment interest, costs,
and reasonable attorney's fees. (Id. at 5
(Prayer for Relief).) Nowhere in her complaint does Ms.
Lister assert a specific amount of alleged damages or any
portion thereof. (See generally id.)
general, the defendant's notice of removal need include
only a plausible allegation that the amount in controversy
exceeds the jurisdictional threshold. See Dart Cherokee
Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct.
547, 553-54 (2014). However, Hyatt's averment does not
constitute a “plausible allegation” that the
amount in controversy is met. See, e.g.,
Martinez v. Vons Cos., Inc., No. 2:16-CV-02380-GMN-
PAL, 2017 WL 3785215, at *2 (D. Nev. Aug. 30, 2017) (noting
the defendant's reliance on the plaintiff's alleged
medical costs, permanent disability and request for general
damages was “too speculative” to establish the
amount in controversy); Helland v. M705 Kroger
W./QFC, No. 2:14-CV-01687, 2015 WL 11715590, at *2 (W.D.
Wash. Feb. 20, 2015) (finding the defendant's
“single speculative assertion” that the
plaintiff's surgery and hospitalization would exceed $75,
000 “fails to prevail under a preponderance of the
evidence standard”). If the court questions the
removing defendant's allegation regarding the amount in
controversy, the removing defendant bears the burden to
demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that more than
$75, 000.00 is in controversy. See Dart, 135 S.Ct.
at 554 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(B));
Geographic Expeditions, 599 F.3d at 1106-07 (citing
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566-67). Here, the court questions
Hyatt's amount in controversy allegations. Accordingly,
Hyatt must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that
more than $75, 000.00 is in controversy in this matter.
See Dart, 135 S.Ct. at 553-54.
subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, the court must remand
the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (“If at any time
before final judgment it appears that the district court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
remanded.”) Accordingly, the court ORDERS Hyatt to SHOW
CAUSE why this matter should not be remanded to state court.
To do so, Hyatt must establish by a preponderance of the
evidence that Ms. Lister has placed more than $75, 000.00 in
controversy based on the claims alleged in its complaint.
Hyatt must submit this information within fourteen (14) days
of the date of this order. If Hyatt does not timely and
adequately comply with this order, the court will remand this
action to state court for lack of subject ...