United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND
O. Rice Chief United States District Judge.
THE COURT is Plaintiffs Motion to Remand to State Court (ECF
No. 44). This matter was submitted for consideration without
oral argument. The Court has reviewed the record and files
herein, the completed briefing and is fully informed. For the
reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs Motion to Remand (ECF No.
44) is DENIED.
case arises out of Plaintiff Multistar Industries'
("Multistar") purchase of a 2016 Cadillac CTS-V and
the vehicle's breakdown shortly thereafter. Plaintiff
initially filed this suit against a number of defendants in
Adams County Superior Court on March 15, 2019. ECF No. 1-1.
On May 24, 2019, Defendants Love Chevrolet, Inc. and Darrin
Taylor removed this case to federal court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1 at 1-5. On June 20, 2019,
Plaintiff filed its First Amended Complaint. ECF No. 13. On
August 26, 2019, this Court entered an order dismissing most
of the named defendants in the matter for lack of personal
jurisdiction. ECF No. 37. On September 19, 2019, this Court
entered an order granting Plaintiff leave to amend its
complaint to remove and substitute improperly named
defendants and to sufficiently allege facts in support of its
claims against the "John Doe" defendants. ECF No.
39. On October 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed its Second Amended
Complaint. ECF No. 40, duplicated at ECF No. 41.
Plaintiff once again improperly named "John Doe"
defendants without any substantive allegations against them.
See ECF No. 39 at 4-5. Based on the amount in
controversy alleged in the Second Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remand to State Court.
ECF No. 44.
moves to remand this case to state court on the grounds that
the amount in controversy requirement for federal diversity
jurisdiction is no longer met. ECF No. 44 at 2.
28 United States Code Section 1441 governs removal of cases
from state court to federal court. Generally, a defendant may
remove a case to federal court if the federal court would
have subject matter jurisdiction over one or more of the
plaintiffs claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331
(federal question) or 1332 (diversity of citizenship).
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), (b). Under diversity
jurisdiction, federal district courts have "original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive
of interest and costs," and is between diverse citizens.
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The amount in controversy includes
the amount of damages in dispute, as well as reasonable
attorney's fees, if mandated or allowed by statute or
contract. Gait G/S v. JSS Scandinavia, 142 F.3d
1150, 1156 (9th Cir. 1998) ("We hold that where an
underlying statute authorizes an award of attorneys'
fees, either with mandatory or discretionary language, such
fees may be included in the amount in controversy.");
see also Guglielmino v. McKee Foods Corp., 506 F.3d
696, 700 (9th Cir. 2007) ("Section l332(a)'s
amount-in-controversy requirement excludes only 'interest
and costs' and therefore includes attorneys'
fees."). In determining the amount in controversy, the
court may consider whether it is "facially
apparent" from the complaint that the demand exceeds
$75, 000. Abrego Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d
676, 690 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Singer v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th Cir. 1997)).
"If not, the court may consider facts in the removal
petition, and may 'require parties to submit
summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the amount in
controversy at the time of removal." Id.
(quoting Singer, 116 F.3d at 377).
occurring subsequent to removal which reduce the amount
recoverable, whether beyond the plaintiffs control or the
result of his volition, 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, 293 (1938).
Rather, a district court's removal jurisdiction is
determined at the time of removal or commencement of the suit
in federal court. Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. v. KN. Energy,
Inc., 498 U.S. 426, 428 (1991) ("We have
consistently held that if jurisdiction exists at the time an
action is commenced, such jurisdiction may not be divested by
subsequent events."); Hill v. Blind Indus. &
Servs. of Md., 179 F.3d 754, 757 (9th Cir. 1999)
("[D]iversity jurisdiction is determined at the time the
action commences, and a federal court is not divested of
jurisdiction if... the amount in controversy subsequently
drops below the minimum jurisdictional level." (citing
St. Paul Mercury, 303 U.S. at 293-95)).
time of removal to federal court, Plaintiffs initial
complaint was the operative complaint. ECF No. 1. In the
initial complaint, Plaintiff sought actual damages in the
amount of $84, 598.00 for the price of the car; $1, 172.15
for hotel and airfare expenses; unspecified alternative
transportation or replacement damages; attorney's fees;
unspecified out of pocket expenses; and treble damages under
the Washington Consumer Protection Act. ECF No. 1-1 at 16-17,
24. There is no question that at the time of removal to
federal court, the amount in controversy exceeded $75, 000.
The Second Amended Complaint seeks actual damages "in
the amount of $10, 000 (), plus additional losses, costs
and attorney's fees," as well as treble damages. ECF
No. 40 at 22-24. However, this amount is not relevant to the
legal inquiry. Hill, 179 F.3d at 757. Because the
amount in controversy requirement was satisfied at the time
this case was removed to federal court, this Court properly
retains federal diversity jurisdiction despite the amendments
to Plaintiffs complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Plaintiffs Motion to Remand (ECF No. 44) is
2. The District Court Executive is directed to once again
terminate from the docket defendants Does I-X and ABC