Holt v. Food Lion Grocery Store of Chester

In this slip-and-fall case removed from state court, the court has diversity jurisdiction over the controversy, and removal was proper. The parties are citizens of different states, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

Following removal, Holt argued that the amount in controversy is actually $74,000, submitting an affidavit that she will not seek a greater amount in damages upon remand. But the amount in controversy is governed by the plaintiff’s state-court complaint as it appears at the time of filing the notice of removal, provided that such amount is demanded in good faith. A plaintiff may not deprive the court of diversity jurisdiction simply by amending the complaint to request damages below the jurisdictional amount. The court will not countenance a result that permits a plaintiff to file a large damages claim in state court, wait to see if removal happens, and if it does, to then seek remand based on a lower amount of damages.

Motion to remand denied.

Holt v. Food Lion Grocery Store of Chester, No. 3:18cv503, Jan. 4, 2019. EDVA at Richmond (Payne).

Categories: Opinions, U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Virginia

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