United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on plaintiff Christina Love's
motion to remand. (DN 5.) Fully briefed, this matter is ripe
to the complaint, Plaintiff Love was employed by Defendant
G4S Secure Solutions USA, Inc. (“G4S”).
(Pl.'s Compl. [DN 1-2] ¶ 4.) While employed, she was
treated less favorably than her male counterparts, and she
raised this issue with her employer. (Id. ¶ 5.)
She also lawfully possessed a firearm while employed by G4S.
(Id. ¶ 6.) Love was ultimately terminated by
G4S. (Id. ¶ 7-11.) She brought the present
action against G4S in Jefferson Circuit Court, asserting
claims of gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge
under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, KRS Chapter 344 et
seq., as well as a claim of public policy wrongful
termination for possessing a firearm. (Id. ¶
11-14.) G4S removed to this Court (DN 1), and Love has moved
to remand the case to state court on the basis that the
amount in controversy is less than the $75, 000 threshold
required to meet this Court's jurisdictional requirement
for diversity cases. (DN 5.) In support of this argument,
Love submitted a stipulation through her counsel that she
“will not seek a judgment or request a verdict for an
amount in excess of $74, 999.00[.]” (DN 7-1.) G4S has
opposed the motion. (DN 7.)
Standard of Review
from state to federal court is proper for “any civil
action brought in a State court of which the district courts
of the United States have original jurisdiction.” 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). G4S removed this action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1441, claiming that this Court has diversity
jurisdiction over the action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Diversity jurisdiction gives “[t]he district courts . .
. original jurisdiction [over] all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . .
citizens of different states.” 28 U.S.C. §
undisputed that the parties are diverse and that Love has
stipulated that the amount in controversy does not exceed
$75, 000. Therefore, the principal issue here is whether this
stipulation is sufficient for the Court to remand Love's
action to Jefferson Circuit Court.
within the Sixth Circuit have “noted on several recent
occasions that postremoval stipulations reducing the amount
in controversy below the jurisdictional threshold are
generally disfavored because” if plaintiffs “were
able to defeat jurisdiction by way of a post-removal
stipulation, they could unfairly manipulate proceedings
merely because their federal case begins to look
unfavorable.” Gatlin v. Shoe Show, Inc., 2014
WL 3586498, at *3 (W.D. Ky. July 21, 2014) (citations and
quotations omitted); see Rogers v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 230 F.3d 868, 872 (6th Cir. 2000); Agri-Power,
Inc. v. Majestic JC, LLC, 2013 WL 3280244, at *3 (W.D.
Ky. June 27, 2013); Proctor v. Swifty Oil Co., 2012
WL 4593409, at *3 (W.D. Ky. Oct. 1, 2012). The Sixth Circuit
has advised that “a post-removal stipulation reducing
the amount in controversy to below the jurisdictional limit
does not require remand to state court.”
Rogers, 230 F.3d at 872. “However, where a
state prevents a plaintiff from pleading a specific amount of
damages, ” as Kentucky does, “and the plaintiff
provides specific information about the amount in controversy
for the first time in a stipulation, this district views such
stipulations as a clarification of the amount in
controversy rather than a reduction of such.”
Agri-Power, 2013 WL 3280244, at *3 (citing
Proctor, 2012 WL 4593409, at *3) (emphasis in
original). Therefore, a plaintiff may submit a stipulation
that will destroy the amount in controversy requirement for
the purposes of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiff chooses to submit a stipulation as to the amount in
controversy, the stipulation must be unequivocal in order to
“limit the amount of recoverable damages and warrant
remand.” Egan v. Premier Scales & Sys.,
237 F.Supp.2d 774, 778 (W.D. Ky. 2002); see
Agri-Power, 2013 WL 3280244, at *3; Proctor,
2012 WL 4593409, at *3. This district “has recognized
that a plaintiff may stipulate that it neither seeks, nor
will accept, damages in an amount greater than $75, 000,
and that such a stipulation will” be sufficiently
unequivocal to destroy diversity jurisdiction.
Agri-Power, 2013 WL 3280244, at *3 (emphasis added).
stipulation in this case does not meet this standard. It
states that she “will not seek a judgment or request a
verdict for an amount in excess of $74, 999.00 and will not
seek attorney's fees for any amount that, together with
any judgment or verdict, would exceed $74, 999.” (DN
7-1.) While Love stipulates that she will not seek a
verdict of $75, 000 or more, she does not stipulate that she
will not accept or seek to enforce a judgment of
that amount. The stipulation is “less than
unequivocal” and thus deficient to defeat removal.
Accord Egan, 237 F.Supp.2d at 778 (denying motion to
remand as stipulation did not effectively limit the
judgment). Compare with Leavell v. Cabela's
Wholesale, Inc., 2015 WL 9009009, at *2-3 (W.D. Ky. Dec.
15, 2015) (Court lacked jurisdiction when plaintiff
stipulated that she “will neither seek nor accept
damages in excess of $75, 000”). Because the
stipulation does not effectively limit the amount in
controversy to a sum below $75, 000, and there being no other
challenge to the amount in controversy, this Court possesses
subject matter jurisdiction over the case. Therefore, the
motion to remand is DENIED.
reasons set forth above, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that plaintiff Christina ...