Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Joyner v. Lifeshare Management Group, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

April 17, 2018

KATRINA JOYNER, Plaintiff,
v.
LIFESHARE MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC d/b/a Lifeshare Management Group, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER

         Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc. 14) and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 3). For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is DENIED and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED. However, Plaintiff shall have fourteen days from the date of this order to submit an amended complaint correcting the deficiencies identified below. Plaintiff is on NOTICE that failure to do so will result in dismissal of this case.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises from Plaintiff Katrina Joyner's employment as a care provider with Defendant Lifeshare Management Group, LLC ("Lifeshare"}.[1] (Doc. 1, Ex. A at 9.) While working for Defendant, Plaintiff was directed to house and provide twenty-four hour care for a special needs patient, whom for the purposes of this order will be referred to as Ms. H. (Id.) From the beginning of the arrangement, however, Ms. H was aggressive and combative with Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff made several reports of the aggressive and combative behavior to Defendant, requesting that Ms. H be removed from Plaintiff's care and relocated. (IdJ Defendant, however, did not act on any of Plaintiff's requests. (Id. at 10.) On September 7, 2015, Ms. H became aggressive while riding in Plaintiff's car and bit Plaintiff's hand, causing Plaintiff to suffer "permanent nerve damage." (Id.)

         On August 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit in the State Court of Chatham County alleging claims based on Defendant's alleged negligence, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Id. at 6-14.) In her complaint, Plaintiff sought attorney's fees, punitive damages, and other damages related to her medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. (Id. at 12-13.) On September 21, 2017, Defendant invoked this Court's diversity jurisdiction and removed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. 1.) At the same time, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss seeking dismissal of the entirety of Plaintiff's complaint, (Doc. 3.) In its motion, Defendant argued that Plaintiff failed to properly allege facts to support her claims. (Id.) In response, Plaintiff maintained that she did provide enough factual allegations in her complaint so as to allow her time to further develop these allegations through discovery. (Doc. 15.)

         On October 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand. (Doc. 14.) In her motion, Plaintiff maintained that this Court lacked jurisdiction over this matter and that this case should be remanded to state court. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff argued that Defendant had not shown that the amount in controversy exceeded the $75, 000 required for this Court to assert jurisdiction over this case. (Id. at 2-3.) In her motion, Plaintiff also requested attorney's fees for "the additional effort required to respond to Defendant's groundless Notice of Removal." (Id. at 3.)

         This Court must have jurisdiction over this action before reaching the merits of any legal argument. As such, this Court will first consider the merits of Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. The Court will be able to consider the merits of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss only after finding that this Court has proper jurisdiction over this action.

         ANALYSIS

         I. MOTION TO REMAND

         In general terms, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction: they may only hear cases that they have been authorized to hear by the Constitution or Congress. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375 (1994). For cases first filed in state court, a defendant may remove the matter to federal court only if the original case could have been brought in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Conversely, if no basis for subject matter jurisdiction exists, a party may move to remand the case back to state court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). When a case originally filed in state court is removed by the defendant, the defendant normally has the burden of proving the existence of federal subject matter jurisdiction. Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319 (11th Cir. 2001).

         This case was removed from a state court action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, federal district courts "have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interests and costs and is between . . . citizens of different states." While there is complete diversity between the parties in this case, Plaintiff did not list an amount of damages in her initial complaint. However, Defendant still may show "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the amount in controversy requirement is satisfied and federal jurisdiction exists. See Kirkland v. Midland Mortg. Co., 243 F.3d 1277, 1281 n.5 (11th Cir. 2001). All doubts about federal jurisdiction should be resolved in favor of a remand to state court. Univ. of S. Ala, v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 411 (11th Cir. 1999).

         In this case, Plaintiff contends that Defendant is unable to show that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Doc. 14.) Plaintiff argues that the amount in controversy is not stated in the complaint or readily deducible from the pleadings in this case. (Id. at 2-3.) As a result, Plaintiff maintains that this Court does not have jurisdiction over this action and this case must be remanded to the state court. (Id. at 4.) In response, Defendant contends that this Court does have jurisdiction over this action because the amount in controversy, although not listed in Plaintiff's initial complaint, is likely to exceed $75, 000. (Doc. 21.)

         When determining whether the amount in controversy of this case exceeds $75, 000, "courts may use their judicial experience and common sense in determining whether the case stated in a complaint meets federal jurisdictional requirements." Roe v. Michelin N. Am., Inc., 613 F.3d 1058, 1062 (11th Cir. 2010). In this case, Plaintiff's complaint requests punitive damages and damages for "serious and substantial physical and mental injuries; past and future medical expenses; past, present, and future physical and mental pain and suffering; permanent impairment; and lost wages." (Doc. 1, Ex. A at 13.) While Plaintiff provides no specific amounts as to each of the requested damages, the Court is convinced that the total amount likely exceeds the $75, 000 amount-in-controversy requirement. For example, in Defendant's notice of removal, Defendant provides that Plaintiff's average monthly wages amounted to $2, 536 a month. (Doc. 1 at 6.) Using that average wage to estimate potential damages for back pay from November 2015 to the date in which this case was removed, August 9, 2017, the damages for back pay alone exceed $60, 000. When accounting for additional damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and permanent impairment, the Court finds that the total damages likely exceed $75, 000. As a result, the Court does have jurisdiction over this action and this case will not be remanded to the state court. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is denied.[2]

         II. MOTION TO DISMISS

         Because this Court has jurisdiction over this case, the Court is now able to consider the merits of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. In its motion, Defendant contends that each of Plaintiff's claims must be dismissed because Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege facts to support these claims. (Doc. 3.) In response, Plaintiff argues that she has alleged enough facts in her complaint to allow for her claims to survive, and that she should be allowed to proceed to discovery in order to further develop her factual ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.