United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Amy and Scott Steers filed suit on November 20, 2017, in the
Circuit Court for Carroll County, against defendant Samsung
Electronics America, Inc. (“Samsung”).
See ECF 2 (“Complaint”) at 1. Plaintiffs
averred that their Samsung phone caught on fire. Id.
¶¶ 5, 6. Seeking damages in excess of $75,
000, they alleged a breach of duty of good faith, fraud, and
negligence. ECF 2 at 3; id. at ¶¶ 9-11.
Samsung filed a Notice of Removal on February 16, 2018,
invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332. See ECF 1.
removal, plaintiffs moved to amend the Complaint. ECF 13. The
Court granted that motion. ECF 14. The amended complaint is
docketed at ECF 15 (“Amended Complaint”), along
with photographs of the damaged cell phone. ECF 15 at 4-10.
In the Amended Complaint, plaintiffs aver breaches of the
implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for
particular purpose, in lieu of their earlier claims. ECF 15,
¶ 11. Moreover, they claim that they suffered smoke
inhalation, property damage, and other economic losses.
Id. ¶ 9. And, of relevance here, they now seek
damages of $30, 000, instead of damages in excess of $75,
000. ECF 15 at 3.
6, 2018, plaintiffs moved to remand. They claim that the
Court “no longer has jurisdiction” because
“the amount in controversy is now $30, 000 for each
Plaintiff.” ECF 16, ¶¶ 4, 5
(“Motion”). Samsung has not opposed the Motion.
See Docket. And, the time for it to do so has
elapsed. See Local Rule 105.2.a.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. Local Rule 105.6.
For the reasons that follow, I will deny the Motion.
order to establish the amount in controversy for purposes of
diversity jurisdiction, “the sum claimed by plaintiff
controls if the claim is apparently made in good
faith.” St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab
Co., 303 U.S. 283, 289 (1938); accord Choice Hotels
Intern., Inc. v. Shiv Hospitality, L.L.C., 491 F.3d 171,
176 (4th Cir. 2007); Joy Family Ltd. Partnership v.
United Financial Banking Companies, Inc., 2013 WL
4647321, at *6 (D. Md. 2013); see also Dow v. Jones,
232 F.Supp.2d 491, 497-98 (D. Md. 2002) (“It is well
established that the sum claimed in the plaintiff's
complaint determines the amount in controversy, barring bad
faith or the legal impossibility of recovering such an
import here, in the context of actions removed from state
court, the amount in controversy for jurisdictional purposes
is determined at the time of removal. See, e.g.,
Dennison v. Carolina Payday Loans, Inc., 549 F.3d
941, 943 (4th Cir. 2008) (“[F]ederal jurisdiction [is]
fixed at the time . . . [the] notice of removal is
filed.”); Gebbia v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 233
F.3d 880, 883 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing St. Paul Mercury
Indem. Co., 303 U.S. at 289-90); Trust v. Prestige
Anapolis, LLC, JMC-16-544, 2017 WL 3085680, at *16 (D.
Md. July 20, 2017) (“[S]ubject matter jurisdiction is
still present here because . . . the amount-in-controversy at
the time of the filing was . . . above the threshold amount
of $75, 000.”); Francis v. Allstate Ins. Co.,
869 F.Supp.2d 663, 667-68 (D. Md. 2012) (“If, at [the
time of removal], the parties are citizens of different
states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, the
Court has jurisdiction on the basis of
diversity-‘regardless of later changes in . . . the
amount in controversy.'”) (quoting Porsche Cars
North America, Inc. v. Porsche.net, 302 F.3d 248, 255-56
(4th Cir. 2002)); Vinson v. Bank of America, N.A.,
2011 WL 1326058, at *2 (D. Md. Apr. 4, 2011)
(“[B]ecause the parties are admittedly diverse and the
amount in controversy at the time of removal exceeded $75,
000, this Court possesses diversity jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332.”); Floyd v. Yanonis,
2009 WL 3231627, at *1 (D. Md. Oct. 5, 2009) (denying motion
to remand and observing that, “at the time the
complaint was filed and at the time of removal, the amount in
controversy exceeded the statutory amount”).
“the Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff with a
claim potentially exceeding $75, 000 ‘may resort to the
expedient of suing for less than the jurisdictional amount,
and though [the plaintiff] would justly be entitled to more,
the defendant cannot remove.'” Mary L. Martin,
Ltd. v. State Auto Property and Cas. Ins. Co., 2013 WL
2181206, at *2 (D. Md. May 17, 2013) (quoting St. Paul
Mercury Indem. Co., 303 U.S. at 294). But, in general,
“a court determines the existence of diversity
jurisdiction ‘at the time the action is filed,'
regardless of later changes in originally crucial facts such
as the parties' citizenship or the amount in
controversy.” Porsche Cars North America, 302
F.3d at 255-56 (quoting Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. v. K N
Energy, Inc., 498 U.S. 426, 428 (1991)); see,
e.g., Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., 498 U.S. at 428
(Supreme Court has “consistently held that if
[diversity] jurisdiction exists at the time an action is
commenced, such jurisdiction may not be divested by
courts have concluded that federal courts retain subject
matter jurisdiction where a plaintiff amends the complaint
after removal so as to place the amount in controversy below
the jurisdictional threshold. See, e.g., Jones
v. Compass Bancshares Inc., 339 Fed.Appx. 410, 411 (5th
Cir. 2009) (“It is well established that the amount in
controversy is determined at the time of removal.”);
Allen v. R & H Oil & Gas Co., 63 F.3d 1326,
1336 (5th Cir. 1995) (“An amendment to the complaint
limiting damages for jurisdictional purposes cannot divest
jurisdiction” after removal); Fryer v. ProtoHIT,
Inc., 2012 WL 3292936, at *2 (D. Utah Aug. 10, 2012)
(“‘[P]laintiff's later amendment which
reduced the amount in controversy does not destroy the
Court's jurisdiction.'”) (citation omitted);
Sell v. Hertz Corp., 2009 WL 2998983, at *1 (D. Utah
Sept. 18, 2009) (“[I]t is well settled that once the
district court's diversity jurisdiction attaches at the
time of removal, a plaintiff may not subsequently divest the
court of jurisdiction and force remand to state court by
reducing the amount in controversy.”); Bunch v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2009 WL 1076162, at *3
(N.D. Ind. Apr. 20, 2009) (“[I]f it is facially
apparent from the petition that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000 at the time of removal, post-removal
affidavits, stipulations, and amendments reducing the amount
do not deprive the district court of jurisdiction.”).
Gardner v. AMF Bowling Centers, Inc., 271 F.Supp.2d
732, 733 (D. Md. 2003), Judge Blake of this Court summarized
the applicable principles:
Diversity jurisdiction is determined as of the date the suit
is filed. See, e.g., Porsche Cars N. Am.,
Inc.[, 302 F.3d at 255-56] (holding that “a court
determines the existence of diversity jurisdiction ‘at
the time the action is filed,' regardless of later
changes in originally crucial facts such as the parties'
citizenship or the amount in controversy”) (citations
omitted). Thus, even if “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.”
St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co.[, 303 U.S. at 292];
see also Thompson v. Victoria Fire & Cas. Co.,
32 F.Supp.2d 847, 849 (D.S.C. 1999); Morris v.
Naugle, 722 F.Supp. 1285, 1286-87 (D. Md. 1989).
Diversity jurisdiction existed when the action was filed and
removed to this court; the plaintiff's amended complaint
reducing the damages claimed provides no basis for remanding
these principles, it is apparent that plaintiffs'
amendment of the ad damnum clause following removal
does not defeat federal jurisdiction. At the time of removal,
which is the relevant time for purposes of determining this
Court's jurisdiction, the operative Complaint sought
damages in excess of $75, 000. See, e.g.,
Gardner, 271 F.Supp.2d at 733. As a ...