United States District Court, E.D. Washington
DANIELLE TEUSCHER, individually and in her capacity as mother and natural guardian of Z.F., a minor, Plaintiffs,
CCB-NWB, LLC, a California limited liability company, d/b/a, N.W. CRYOBANK, Defendant.
ORDER REGARDING JURISDICTION
O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT are Plaintiff Danielle Teuscher's, personally
and in her representative capacity, Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 9) and Defendant CCB-NWC, LLC's
Motion to Dismiss the Second and Sixth Causes of Action (ECF
No. 24). The Court heard oral argument on October
11, 2019. The Court has reviewed the record and files therein
and is fully informed.
courts have jurisdiction in civil actions where there is
complete diversity of citizenship among the parties and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest
and costs. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Courts are
bound to consider jurisdictional defects sua sponte.
United States v. S. Pac. Transp. Co., 543 F.2d 676,
682 (9th Cir. 1976); see also St. Paul Mercury Indem.
Co.v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 287-88 (1938) (district
court may question at any time whether jurisdictional amount
has been shown).
the amount in controversy is determined from the face of the
pleadings. The sum claimed by the plaintiff controls so long
as the claim is made in good faith. Crum v. Circus Circus
Enterprises, 231 F.3d 1129, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000). To
justify dismissal, “it must appear to a legal certainty
that the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional
amount.” Id. (quoting St. Paul Mercury
Indem. Co., 303 U.S. at 289). It should be noted that
the plaintiff and the defendant are not free simply to agree
that the jurisdictional amount requirement has been
satisfied, since parties cannot by stipulation or any other
mechanism confer subject matter jurisdiction on the federal
courts. See e.g., 28 U.S.C. § 1359 (prohibiting
collusion to invoke the jurisdiction of the court); St.
Paul Mercury Indem. Co., 303 U.S. at 287-88.
actions seeking declaratory or injunctive relief, it is well
established that the amount in controversy is measured by the
value of the object of the litigation. Hunt v. Washington
State Apple Advert. Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333, 347
(1977). In some instances, an examination of the applicable
substantive law will determine whether the plaintiff's
alleged damages are legally recoverable. 14AA Fed. Prac.
& Proc. Juris. (Wright & Miller) § 3702 (4th
prayer for relief in their Amended Complaint simply seeks no
less than $100, 000. ECF No. 23 at 45. At the hearing, the
Court questioned Plaintiffs' counsel as to the value of
the gametes. Counsel represented that their cost was under
$10, 000. Merely reciting that the gametes are
“invaluable” does not sufficiently allege a
recognized measure of damages under Washington law,
e.g., replacement value of similar property, which
could satisfy the jurisdictional threshold. Accordingly,
Plaintiffs' causes of action for injunctive relief,
breach of bailment, replevin, conversion, breach of contract,
and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing do not
establish the jurisdictional threshold. To a legal certainty,
these claims total less than the jurisdictional amount.
Plaintiffs have not yet stated a viable CPA claim. Typically,
a breach of contract against a single person does not
constitute a Consumer Protection Act violation. After
allegedly breaching the contract, Plaintiff alleges that the
contract is unconscionable, but fails to establish a
plausible CPA violation. Genetic testing is qualitatively
different than affirmatively seeking genetic ancestors.
claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress does
not rise to the level of conduct “utterly
intolerable” by a civilized society. Grimsby v.
Samson, 85 Wash.2d 52, 59 (1975).
it is completely unclear that Z.F. has stated any viable
Court must have jurisdiction before a preliminary injunction
can be imposed. But here, Defendant has maintained the status
quo and agreed to continue to do so while the case is
pending. Accordingly, the motion for a preliminary injunction
is moot. To the extent Plaintiffs seek to exceed the status
quo by affirmative acts, the motion must be denied at this
have leave to file a second amended complaint.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No.
9) is DENIED.
2. Defendant CCB-NWC, LLC's Motion to Dismiss the Sixth
Cause of Action (ECF No. 16) is D ...