United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Hale, Judge
Kelli Elliott, an employee of Defendant Yamamoto FB
Engineering, Inc., alleges that Yamamoto violated the
Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) by retaliating against her
after she complained about and reported sexual harassment in
the workplace. (Docket No. 1-1) Yamamoto removed this action
to federal court on the basis of diversity of citizenship.
(D.N. 1) Elliott moved to remand (D.N. 5), and Yamamoto moved
to dismiss (D.N. 6). For the reasons discussed below, both
motions will be denied.
alleges the following facts in the complaint, which the Court
will accept as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss.
See Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th
Cir. 2007). She works for the defendant, Yamamoto, as a
human-resources administrator. (D.N. 1-1, Page ID # 12) While
working for Yamamoto, Elliott was repeatedly subjected to
comments of a sexual nature. (Id.) In compliance
with Yamamoto's policies, Elliott complained about and
reported sexual harassment in the workplace. (Id.)
In response to Elliott's complaints, Yamamoto threatened
to terminate her employment. (Id.)
filed this retaliation and sexual-harassment suit in state
court (id., PageID # 11-12), and Yamamoto removed
the action to this Court on the basis of diversity of
citizenship pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1332.
(D.N. 1) Elliott has filed a motion to remand the case to
state court (D.N. 5), stipulating that she will not seek a
judgment or request a verdict for an amount in excess of $74,
999. (D.N. 5-1) Yamamoto opposes the motion to remand (D.N.
7) and has moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
MOTION TO REMAND
U.S.C. § 1441 governs the removal of civil actions to
federal court. Section 1441 provides:
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “The district courts shall
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-(1) citizens
of different States; [and] (2) citizens of a State and
citizens or subjects of a foreign state . . . .” 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Amount in Controversy
notice of removal, Yamamoto alleges that Elliott “seeks
an award of non-economic compensatory damages . . . [that]
easily could exceed the $75, 000 jurisdictional threshold as
the KCRA places no cap on the amount of compensatory damages
that [plaintiffs] may recover.” (D.N. 1, PageID # 5)
After removal, Elliott submitted a stipulation stating that
(1) “[t]he amount in controversy in this matter . . .
does not exceed the sum or value of $74, 999.00, exclusive of
interest and costs; at any time up to and including trial and
any subsequent appeals”; and (2)“[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.” (D.N. 5-1, PageID # 39)
post-removal stipulation reducing the amount in controversy
to below the jurisdictional limit does not require remand to
state court.” Rogers v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
230 F.3d 868, 872 (6th Cir. 2000). However,
where a state prevents a plaintiff from pleading a specific
amount of damages-as is the case in Kentucky-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