United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
SCOTT E. BATEMAN, Plaintiff,
USAA CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S RENEWED MOTION FOR
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on the Plaintiff's Renewed
Motion for Remand. Dkt. 17. The Court has considered the
pleadings filed regarding the motion and the remaining file.
filed on December 4, 2018, in Pierce County, Washington
Superior Court, this case asserts claims against Defendant
USAA Casualty Insurance Company (“USAA”) arising
from injuries sustained by its insured in a car accident
involving another motorist, who fled the scene. Dkt. 1-3. On
January 11, 2019, USAA removed the case to this Court based
on the diversity of the parties' citizenship and the
amount in controversy, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Dkt. 1. After denial of the Plaintiff's first motion to
remand (Dkt. 15) and subsequent filing of an Amended
Complaint (Dkt. 21), the Plaintiff now moves to remand the
case, asserting there is now no ambiguity - the amount in
controversy is less than $75, 000 (Dkt. 17). For the reasons
provided below, the renewed motion to remand (Dkt. 17) should
to the Amended Complaint, at the relevant time, Plaintiff was
an insured driver under a policy issued by USAA, which
included benefits for injuries resulting from an accident
with an uninsured/underinsured (“UIM”) motorist.
Dkt. 21, at 3. Under the heading “Entitlement to UIM
Damages, ” the Amended Complaint provides that
“Plaintiff seeks an amount up to $72, 500.”
Id., at 4. The Plaintiff also makes claims under the
Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86, et.
seq. (“CPA”). The Plaintiff seeks damages,
including treble damages under the CPA, attorneys' fees,
and costs. Id.
Plaintiff renews his motion to remand the case. Dkt. 17. He
argues that, while the parties are completely diverse in
their citizenship, the $75, 000 in controversy amount (as
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (a)) is not met.
Id. The Plaintiff states that with his Amended
Complaint, he “seeks to remove any ambiguity regarding
the monetary limit of this action: no more than $72,
500.” Id. USAA opposes the motion. Dkt. 22.
The motion is ripe for review.
of a case from a state court to a United States District
Court is governed by the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§
1441 and 1446. Section 1441 provides, in relevant part, as
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or defendants,
to the district court of the United States for the district
and division embracing the place where such action is
pending. . .
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). USAA asserts that this court has
original jurisdiction in this case under § 1332 (a)
because of the diversity of the parties' citizenship and
the amount in controversy. Dkt. 1. Section 1332 (a) provides
that diversity jurisdiction exists only “where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interests and costs.” 28 U.S.C. §
1332 (a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (c)(2), If removal of a
civil action is sought on the basis of the jurisdiction
conferred by section 1332 (a), the sum demanded in good faith
in the initial pleading shall be deemed to be the amount in
controversy, except that -
(A) the notice of removal may assert the amount in
controversy if the initial pleading seeks -
(i) nonmonetary relief; or
(ii) a money judgment, but the State practice either does not
permit demand for a specific sum or permits recovery of
damages in excess of the amount demanded; and
(B) removal of the action is proper on the basis of an amount
in controversy asserted under subparagraph (A) if the
district court finds, by the preponderance of the evidence,
that the amount in controversy ...