United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE.
Marilyn Archer moves the Court to remand this case back to
state court because “the Defendant has not met its
burden in showing the jurisdictional amount in controversy
with any evidence.” Doc. 9 at 4.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2):
If removal of a civil action is sought on the basis [of
diversity jurisdiction], . . . . the notice of removal may
assert the amount in controversy if the initial pleading
seeks . . . a money judgment, but the State practice either
does not permit demand for a specific sum or permits recovery
of damages in excess of the amount demanded; and . . . the
district court finds, by the preponderance of the evidence,
that the amount in controversy exceeds [$75, 000].
28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2).
contends that the Defendants have “provided no facts or
evidence in support of their assertion” that ‘the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum value of $75,
000.00.” Doc. 9 at 3. Archer also offers, as
controverting evidence, that “Plaintiff has incurred
$10, 258.99 in medicals to date, and an updated demand was
sent on April 14, 2017 for $55, 000.00.” Id.
Defendants do offer evidence-the complaint itself and a
demand letter for $85, 000 from Archer. The Defendants
note that Archer “alleges in her complaint that she hit
the tub ‘violently and with full force, ' causing
‘vast injuries.'” Doc. 7 at 10 (quoting Doc.
1-3 ¶ 3). These injuries include “a back sprain,
chest wall contusions, muscle spasms,  fractured ribs[, ]
[and] back pain at the L3 level attributed to a prominent
wedge compression fracture.” Doc. 1-3 ¶ 3. Archer
characterizes her injuries as “severe injuries and
great pain of body and mind, from which she did then suffer,
now suffers, and will continue to suffer.” Id.
¶ 7. Archer seeks compensation for these injuries as
well as “expenses in the nature of medical
bills.” Id. ¶ 5. As the Defendants note:
Plaintiff's thorough four-page demand letter [seeking
$85, 000] dated July 6, 2016 describes in detail
plaintiff's claims of “chronic pain, stiffness, and
discomfort in her back” and her inability to sleep in
her own bed due to her broken ribs and chest wall injuries.
Her demand itemizes “to the penny” $10, 258.99,
in medical expenses, and also states that “future
medical expenses will be an important element of the
damages.” Specifically, a fractured spine may very well
result in a future surgery. The demand includes 105 pages of
detailed medical records and billing statements, and counsel
for plaintiff averred that the letter states provide
“ample information and documentation to justify the
demand of $85, 000.00.” . . . [P]laintiff's demand
includes an itemization for medical expenses, details
plaintiff's pain and suffering, and describes future
medical expenses as “an important element” of
Doc. 10 at 8-9.
Archer's second, April 14, 2017, demand, the Defendants
note that it was “made just three days after the case
was removed” and “should not be considered
because it was made after the case was
removed.” Id. at 9. The Defendants also
note that the demand stated baldly: “[w]e have revised
our demand and are willing to accept $55, 000.00 to settle
Ms. Archer's case” (Doc. 10-2) and, accordingly,
does not appear to be a reasonable assessment of her claim.
Court agrees with the Defendants. Considering the $10, 258.99
claimed medical expenses, the nature of the alleged injuries,
Archer's stated intent to seek damages for pain and
suffering, and Archer's initial demand of $85, 000 in
light of common sense and the Court's own experience, the
Court concludes that the Defendants have met their burden to
show that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Cf.
Farley v. Variety Wholesalers, Inc., 2013 WL 1748608, at
*2 (M.D. Ga. Apr. 23, 2013); see also Roe v. Michelin N.
Am., Inc., 613 F.3d 1058, 1064-65 (11th Cir. 2010). The
Court is not swayed by Archer's April 14, 2017 demand; it
certainly appears to be an attempt to negate diversity
jurisdiction, not reasonably estimate Archer's damages.