United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION REMANDING CASE TO STATE
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge
a resident of Connecticut, claims he purchased a water pump
from Defendant, a corporation organized under the laws of the
State of Delaware. [Dkt. 1-2, Exhibit B (Complaint) ¶
3]. Plaintiff alleges that the water pump was defective, and
that this defective water pump caused flooding in his
basement and damage to his home and property. [Dkt. 1-2,
Exhibit B, ¶ 4]. Plaintiff originally filed his
complaint in Connecticut Superior Court on March 2, 2018.
[Dkt. 1-2, Exhibit B, at 7]. Defendant timely removed on
March 30, 2018, invoking diversity jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. §1332(a). [Dkt. 1 (Notice of Removal)].
Court held a Rule 16 teleconference on April 25, 2018, for
the primary purpose of ascertaining whether the amount in
controversy requirement was satisfied. [Dkt. 16]. In response
to the Court's inquiry, Plaintiff identified the property
he claims was damaged and its value. Shortly thereafter, on
May 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand to State
Court, stating that “if this case is remanded back to
State court; the plaintiff will not seek or accept a judgment
in excess of $75, 000.” [Dkt. 18 (Plaintiff's Mot.
to Remand) ¶ 7(A)]. Defendant responded in support of
the Motion to Remand, requesting that the Court issue an
Order stating that the Defendant “may not seek or
recover judgment in excess of $75, 000” in state court.
[Dkt. 21 (Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Mot. to
Remand) ¶ 8]. Plaintiff then withdrew his Motion to
Remand, stating that he “no longer is willing to limit
his potential Judgement in this matter to $75, 000.”
[Dkt. 22 (Notice of Withdrawal of Mot. to Remand) ¶ 1].
For the reasons described below, this case is REMANDED
sua sponte to state court.
Court must remand a case if, at any time during the course of
litigation, it determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The party invoking
federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing the
existence of a sufficient amount in controversy. McNutt
v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189
(1936); United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local
919, AFL-CIO v. CenterMark Properties Meriden Square,
Inc., 30 F.3d 298, 304-05 (2d Cir. 1994). The party must
prove to “a reasonable probability” that the
claim meets the jurisdictional amount. United Food,
30 F.3d at 305. The party must prove those allegations by the
preponderance of the evidence. Id. If the court
finds it lacks jurisdiction for removal, “remand may
take place without motion and at any time.”
Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections v. Schacht, 524 U.S.
381, 392 (1998). Courts may remand where the amount in
controversy requirement appeared satisfied at the outset of
the action but subsequent evidence disproved the amount.
Tongkook America, Inc. v. Shipton Sportswear Co., 14
F.3d 781, 786 (2d Cir. 1994).
originally claimed he would ask the jury for “several
hundreds of thousands” of dollars. [Dkt. 1 (Notice of
Removal) ¶ 9; Dkt. 1, Exhibit C (Email from Plaintiff)].
Harbor Freight noted that “Plaintiff's Complaint
seeks recovery of replacement costs for loss of tools,
windows, doors and for damage to the basement's
structure.” [Id.]. Martin's Complaint also
claimed “mold and insect infestation” and
“appears to claim non-economic damages related to the
loss of several paintings made by his mother and
grandmother.” [Id. ¶ 8].
parties' Rule 16 teleconference, the Plaintiff alleged
that the most he would ask for is $60, 000. [Dkt. 17 (Minute
Entry - Rule 16 Teleconference)]. Plaintiff also told the
Court that he was unsure how much of the damage to his
basement was the direct result of the flooding allegedly
caused by Defendant's pump. [Id.]. Plaintiff
admitted three additional facts which militate against more
than a nominal jury award for the damaged paintings. First,
he admitted that neither his mother's painting nor his
grandmother's painting had any pecuniary value.
[Id.]. Second, he admitted he did not display any of
the paintings in his home where he could see them.
[Id.]. Third, he admitted he kept the paintings in
the mold and insect infested basement. These three facts
suggest a reasonable jury would not be inclined to award more
than nominal damages for any emotional distress, if any,
Plaintiff was able to prove he suffered as a result of the
damage done to the paintings. Finally, in his withdrawn
Motion to Remand, he makes a demand of only $20, 000. [Dkt.
18 (Pl.'s Mot. to Remand) ¶ 4].
on the facts that have come to the Court's attention
since the Notice of Removal, the Court finds that there is
less than $75, 000 in controversy and therefore it lacks
subject matter jurisdiction. This case is hereby REMANDED to