United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
K.M., by and through his parent, Next Friend Ashley Nunley, Plaintiff,
ROOT INSURANCE CO., Defendant.
OPINION & ORDER
E. Wier, United States District Judge.
KM asks the Court to remand this matter to Laurel Circuit
Court. DE 6 (Motion to Remand). The Court, perceiving no need
to await a response, denies the request.
removal requires “plausible allegation[s]” of
complete diversity and a sufficient amount in controversy.
Naji v. Lincoln, 665 Fed.Appx. 397, 400 (6th Cir.
2016) (citation omitted). The removing party-here, Root
Insurance Co. (Root)-“bears the burden[.]”
Eastman v. Marine Mech. Corp., 438 F.3d 544, 549
(6th Cir. 2006). At bottom, removal propriety hinges on
whether the action “could have been brought originally
in federal court.” Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v.
Jackson, 139 S.Ct. 1743, 1748 (2019); see also
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Thus, “the amount in
controversy is measured at the time the complaint was
filed.” Parris v. Mego Mortg. Corp., 14
Fed.Appx. 394, 396 (6th Cir. 2001); see also Beasley v.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. for Certificate Holders of Park Place
Sec, Inc., 744 Fed.Appx. 906, 910 (6th Cir. 2018) (The
remand “inquiry is limited to determining whether the
case was properly removed to federal court in the first
place.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
does not dispute (and the Court sees no record basis to
doubt) the parties' fully diverse citizenship. Rather,
KM's remand theory is premised entirely on Plaintiffs
affidavit stipulating that KM's damages “are as
follows: $25, 000.00 for past and future medical expense[s]
and $50, 000.00 for both past and future pain and suffering[,
]” and avowing that KM will not “ask the jury
for[, ]” or “accept more than $75, 000.00 for any
jury verdict.” DE 6-1 (KM Aff through Ashley Nunley).
Yet, precedent unequivocally forecloses post-removal
amount-in-controversy stipulations as a remand basis.
See, e.g., St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab
Co., 58 S.Ct. 586, 590-91 (1938) (“Events
occurring subsequent to the institution of suit which reduce
the amount recoverable below the statutory limit do not oust
jurisdiction.”); id. at 592 (“And
though, as here, the plaintiff after removal, by stipulation,
by affidavit, or by amendment of his pleadings, reduces the
claim below the requisite amount, this does not deprive the
district court of jurisdiction.”); Rogers v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 230 F.3d 868, 872 (6th Cir. 2000)
(“[W]e hold that a post-removal stipulation reducing
the amount in controversy to below the jurisdictional limit
does not require remand to state court.”).
are good reasons federal courts deem post-removal efforts to
divest jurisdiction ineffective. Rogers, 230 F.3d at
872 (“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.”). Here, KM's sole
argument provides no grounds for remand and, thus, the Court
denies the motion.
on review of the full removal record, the Court finds the
amount-in-controversy satisfied. The Complaint, on behalf of
a minor, alleges significant personal injuries, ones
resulting in past and future pain and suffering as well as
resultant medical expenses. DE 1-2 (Compl.) at ¶ 9.
Further, the pleading seeks an award of damages for
“great mental and emotional distress.”
Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiff pursues both attorney fees
and statutory interest for delayed payment. Critically, the
Complaint, regarding extra-contractual harm, endeavors to
collect punitive damages from the insurance company
there were questions about scope, Plaintiff's affidavit
answers them. Per that document, the damage ceiling is $75,
000. See DE 6-1. Not so fast. Reading more closely,
that is where Plaintiff caps the harm (“to date”)
for medical expenses and pain and suffering. Id.
Plaintiff ignores the other alleged damage
components-interest for delay, attorney fees for collection,
and the undefined (but surely multiplicative) punitive damage
aspect of the bad faith theory. The amount-in-controversy,
charted from Plaintiff's Complaint and the record before
the Court, well exceeds the federal threshold.
these reasons, the Court, on the lone argument presented,
DENIES DE 6.
 The Court undoubtedly has an
omnipresent “duty to consider [its] subject matter
jurisdiction in regard to every case and may raise the issue
sua sponte.” Answers in Genesis of Ky.,
Inc. v. Creation Ministries Int'l, Ltd., 556 F.3d
459, 465 (6th Cir. 2009); see also Hertz Corp. v.
Friend, 130 S.Ct. 1181, 1193 (2010) (“Courts have
an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction exists, even when no party challenges
 The Court analyzes from the Complaint,
not from the scope of the Counterclaim. See Home
Depot, 139 S.Ct. at 1748 (“Section 1441(a) [ ]
does not permit removal based on counterclaims at all, as
a counterclaim is irrelevant to whether the
district court had ‘original ...