United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
March 4, 2014
CARLOS RUIZ, Plaintiff,
ATLANTIC AVIATION, LLC, et al., Defendants.
CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, Senior District Judge.
This case was removed from the Jefferson County Kentucky Circuit Court, invoking our diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). In the Notice of Removal, the removing parties also contend that Defendant Mike Agee was fraudulently joined to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction.
The Plaintiff has now filed an unequivocal stipulation that he will not seek damages in excess of $75, 000.00 inclusive of punitive damages, attorney's fees, and the fair value of any injunctive relief.
The stipulation clearly constrains the amount in controversy in this matter to $75, 000.00.
The removing parties contend that the stipulation filed by the Plaintiff is not sufficient, in that the Plaintiff might later seek or accept damages in excess of $75, 000.00. As previously stated, the Court concludes that the stipulation filed by the Plaintiff is binding and unequivocal. The Court observes, however, that should the Plaintiff later seek to free himself from the constraints of his own binding stipulation, and should he be permitted to do so by the Jefferson County Kentucky Circuit Court, which is doubtful, it would appear that the matter would then become potentially removable, subject to consideration of the fraudulent joinder contention regarding Defendant Mike Agee.
Accordingly, this Court is without jurisdiction, and concludes that this matter must be remanded to the Jefferson County Kentucky Circuit Court, Division 12, for all further proceedings.
The Court notes that a motion to dismiss (DN 4) has been filed by Defendant Mike Agee pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6), upon the contentions that no proper claims have been served against him. Also, a motion to stay (DN 8) has been filed.
Consistent with our determination that we are without diversity jurisdiction in this case, the Court is unable to rule on those motions and they are, therefore, reserved for ruling in the Jefferson County Kentucky Circuit Court, Division 12.
A separate Order will be entered in conformity herewith.