United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court
Lobley filed this action in McCracken County Circuit Court
against Laura Guebert, bringing a claim for negligence
arising out of an automobile accident. Guebert removed
Lobley's action to this Court. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). Now, Lobley asks the Court to remand this
litigation, arguing that removal was untimely under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1446(b). Guebert opposes remand. The Court need not
wade into that debate, however, since it lacks the
subject-matter jurisdiction necessary to do so. Accordingly,
Lobley's Motion to Remand, [R. 5], is GRANTED.
March 14, 2016, Laura Guebert was traveling eastbound in the
right lane of Interstate 24. [R. 1-1 at 2, ¶ 6
(Complaint).] When Guebert started to change lanes, she
failed to notice Laverne Lobley's vehicle, which was in
the left lane. [Id., ¶¶ 6-7.] As Guebert
moved into that lane, she forced Lobley off of the road,
causing her car to crash. [Id., ¶ 7.]
response, Lobley filed this action against Guebert in
McCracken County Circuit Court, bringing a claim for
negligence arising out of that automobile accident.
[Id., ¶¶ 8-9.] She seeks damages for
bodily injuries, pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of
income, impairment to earnings capacity, past, present, and
future medical expenses, loss of ability to enjoy life, and
property damage. [Id., ¶ 9.] Guebert was served
with a copy of the complaint on or before November 16, 2016.
[Id. at 5-6 (Entry of Appearance).] Relying on 28
U.S.C. § 1332, she removed Lobley's action on
December 23, 2016 to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a). [See R. 1 at 1-2, ¶¶ 1-2 (Notice
of Removal).] Now, Lobley moves to remand this action to
McCracken County Circuit Court, arguing that removal was
untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). [See R.
5 (Motion to Remand).]
may remove Lobley's state-court action only if she could
have originally filed it in this Court. See 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a); Everett v. Verizon Wireless,
Inc., 460 F.3d 818, 821 (6th Cir. 2006). As the party
seeking removal, Guebert bears the burden of showing that the
Court has such original jurisdiction. See Vill. of
Oakwood v. State Bank & Tr. Co., 539 F.3d 373, 377
(6th Cir. 2008) (citing Ahearn v. Charter Twp. of
Bloomfield, 100 F.3d 451, 453-54 (6th Cir. 1996)). Any
doubts as to the propriety of removal must be resolved
against it. Jacada (Europe), Ltd. v. Int'l Mktg.
Strategies, Inc., 401 F.3d 701, 704 (6th Cir. 2005),
abrogated on other grounds by Hall St. Assocs., L.L.C. v.
Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576 (2008); see also Shamrock
Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09
two kinds of this Court's original jurisdiction,
see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331- 1332, this case
concerns the one labeled “diversity, ”
[see R. 1 at 1-2, ¶¶ 1-2]. The Court
exercises such jurisdiction in “all civil actions where
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,
000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between”
parties who are “citizens of different States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). To make those determinations,
the Court generally looks at the complaint at the time of
removal. Roddy v. Grand Trunk W. R.R. Inc., 395 F.3d
318, 322 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing Ahearn, 100 F.3d at
usual case, the removing party must file a notice of removal
within thirty days of receiving the complaint. See
28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1). If the complaint does not reveal
a basis for removal, however, that deadline is subject to an
extension. That is, the removing party may file a notice of
removal within thirty days of receiving “a copy of an
amended pleading, motion, order or other paper” which
reveals that the action “is or has become
removable.” Id. § 1446(b)(3). Yet, the
extension period is not without its own limitations: No
action may be removed based on diversity jurisdiction more
than one year after its commencement unless the opposing
party has “acted in bad faith” to frustrate
removal. Id. § 1446(c)(1).
Court need not reach the question of whether Guebert timely
removed Lobley's action. In the main, Guebert has not
established that, at the time she removed this action, the
amount in controversy exceeded $75, 000. Therefore, the Court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, leaving remand as the only
the sum demanded “in good faith” in an initial
pleading is considered to be accurate for purposes of
determining the amount in controversy. Id. §
1446(c)(2). Lobley's complaint, however, does not demand
a specific amount of damages. [See R. 1-1 at 2,
¶ 9.] She simply alleges that her damages exceeded the
state court's jurisdictional threshold of $5, 000.
See Ky. Rev. Stat. § 23A.010(1); Ky. Rev. Stat.
§ 24A.120(1). Such a pleading practice is not unusual.
Many states, including Kentucky, prohibit plaintiffs from
demanding sum-certain damages in pleadings. See Ky.
R. Civ. P. 8.01(2). When that is the case, the ...