United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Chief Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion to Remand (DN
6). This matter is now ripe for adjudication. For the reasons
that follow, the motion is DENIED.
Emmanuel Dasor ("Dasor") brought suit against
Defendant Mahlon J. Stutzman ("Stutzman") in
Kentucky state court on October 5, 2018, asserting a
negligence claim arising from a car crash between the two.
(Notice Removal, Ex. A, at 1-2, DN 1-1). In the Complaint,
Dasor requested compensatory damages for his physical injury,
past and future medical expenses, mental suffering and
emotional distress, and impairment of his power to earn
money. Dasor did not specify an amount of damages but claimed
compensatory damages "in an amount in excess of the
jurisdictional minimum limits of th[e] Court." (Notice
Removal, Ex. A, at 2).
did not serve Stutzman with the Complaint until February 7,
2019. (Notice Removal Ex. A, at 3). Stutzman filed his Answer
on February 27, 2019. (Notice Removal, Ex. A, at 4-7). The
parties then engaged in discovery. Of note, Stutzman asked
Dasor to admit that Dasor would not be seeking damages
greater than $75, 000, which Dasor denied on March 25, 2019.
(Def's Resp. Pl.'s Mot. Remand Ex. B, at 1, DN 7-2).
Dasor also specifically asserted a total amount of damages of
almost $700, 000 in discovery response on March 27, 2019.
(Def.'s Resp. Pl.'s Mot. Remand Ex. C, at 3, DN 7-3).
Stutzman then removed the case to this Court on April 23,
2019. (Notice Removal, DN 1).
seeks remand of this case back to Kentucky state court,
asserting that Stutzman should have removed this case to this
Court within 30 days from service of the Complaint, not from
the time Dasor asserted a specific amount of damages.
district courts located within Kentucky's boundaries have
written on the thirty-day period to remove under [28 U.S.C.]
section 1446(b) and when it commences. All agree the
reviewing court should 'consider a defendant's actual
knowledge to determine when the thirty-day period
commences.'" Brantley v. Safeco Ins. Co. of
Am., No. 1:ll-CV-00054-R, 2011 WL 3360670, at *3 (W.D.
Ky. Aug. 4, 2011) (quoting Mozee v. Dugger, 616
F.Supp.2d 672, 673-74 (W.D. Ky. 2009)). "The thirty-day
period for removal starts to tick when a defendant has
'solid and unambiguous information that the case is
removable.'" Id. at *3 (quoting
Franklin Am. Mortg. Co. v. Eagle Nat'l Bank, No.
3:10-cv-0069, 2010 WL 1628998, at *3-4 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 21,
Court fails to see how Stutzman was expected to glean from
the facts and circumstances of this case that Dasor
adequately pled the jurisdictional minimum to allow Stutzman
to remove the case to a federal court. The Complaint asserted
damages with no more specificity than "compensatory
damages in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional minimum
limits of the Court. . . ." (Notice Removal Ex. A, DN
1-1). Dasor's only argument is that "[t]he nature of
the claims and relief demanded should have alerted [Stutzman]
that [Dasor] was seeking an amount in excess of the $75, 000
federal jurisdictional amount requirement." (Pl.'s
Mem. Supp. Mot. Remand 4, DN 6-1). However, "[b]are
allegations arising from [severe personal injury] claims
[which are routinely asserted in complaints arising from car
accidents] do not, by themselves, establish a case is
removable." Warren v. Sheba Logistics, LLC,
1:15-CV-00148-GNS-HBB, 2016 WL 1057322, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Mar.
14, 2016) (citing King v. Household Fin. Corp. II,
593 F.Supp.2d 958, 961-63 (E.D. Ky. 2009)).
in November 2018, Dasor demanded $34, 000 from Stutzman's
insurer to settle this matter. (Def's Resp. Pl.'s
Mot. Remand Ex. A, DN 7-1). So, not only did the Complaint
just generally assert that Dasor sought damages "in
excess of thejurisdictional limit[, ]" but the specific
amount of damages articulated by Dasor before answering
Stutzman's discovery requests was $34, 000, less than
half of the $75, 000 jurisdictional minimum. 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). The Court cannot find any "solid and
unambiguous information" that would suggest that this
case was removable during the time period Dasor asserts the
case should have been removed.
Dasor points to this Court's decision in McCraw v.
Lyons, 863 F.Supp. 430 (W.D. Ky. 1994), in support of
his position. This Court rejected similar reliance on McCraw
in Warren, stating, "[t]his Court disagrees with the
holding in McCraw and does not believe that speculation based
upon general descriptions of unliquidated damages in a
complaint is sufficient. .. ." Warren, 2016 WL 1057322,
clock for removal started on March 25, 2019, with Dasor's
response to Stutzman's request for admission specifically
indicating an intent to seek great than $75, 000 in damages.
Stutzman filed the Notice of Removal on April 23, 2019,
within the 30-day time limit for removal. The Court finds no
reason to remand this case.
reasons set forth above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs