United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
May 20, 2004.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCE KAUFFMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff Anthony Pullins commenced this action against Defendant
Stihl, Inc. on August 29, 2003 by filing a Civil Complaint in the
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. On September 23, 2003,
Defendant filed a Notice of Removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)
and 1446 based on diversity jurisdiction. Now before the Court is
Plaintiff's Motion for Remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447. For the
reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's Motion will be denied.
Plaintiff claims that he was severely injured while using a power saw
designed by Defendant. In his state court Complaint, Plaintiff alleges
that he is a resident of Pennsylvania but is silent as to his state of
citizenship. He demands in excess of $50,000 exclusive of interest and
costs. Defendant's Notice of Removal states that the parties are citizens
of different states and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
Defendant avers that it is incorporated in Delaware and has its principal
place of business in Virginia. Plaintiff argues that removal was improper
because his Complaint does not state either his citizenship or that the
amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. II. Legal Standard
Under § 1441(a), "any civil action brought in a State court of
which the district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the
district court of the United States for the district and division
embracing the place where such action is pending." 28 U.S.C. § 1441
(a). "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil
actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of
$75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens
of different states." 28 U.S.C. § 1332. A person is a citizen of a
state if he is a United States citizen and is domiciled in that state.
Avins v. Hannum, 497 F. Supp. 930, 936 (D.C. Pa. 1980).
Domicile requires a finding of both residency and an intent to remain
indefinitely. Sprague v. American Bar Ass'n, 166 F. Supp.2d 206,
209 (E.D. Pa. 2001); Krasnov v. Dinan, 465 F.2d 1298,
1300 (3d Cir. 1972). A corporate entity is a citizen both of the state
where it is incorporated and of the state where its principal place of
business is located. Sprague, 166 F. Supp.2d at 209.
The defendant bears the burden of showing that removal is appropriate.
See Abels v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 770 F.2d 26,
29 (3d Cir. 1985); Schnable v. Drexel University, Civ. A. No.
95-21, 1995 WL 412415, at *3 (E.D. Pa. 1995). Removal statutes are
strictly construed against removal and any doubts must be resolved in
favor of remand. Abels, 770 F.2d at 29.
Plaintiff first argues that Defendant has not met its burden of
demonstrating that removal is proper because the state court Complaint
"confirms only the residency of the plaintiff, as distinguished from the
plaintiff's state of citizenship." Motion at ¶ 4. Plaintiff is
correct that residency is not synonymous with citizenship. However, the Third
Circuit has held that listing a residence creates a rebuttable
presumption of domicile. See Krasnov, 465 F.2d at 1300;
see also Wright & Miller § 3612. Plaintiff's Complaint
states that he resides in Pennsylvania. In his Motion for Remand,
Plaintiff does not dispute that he is actually a domiciliary of
Pennsylvania. Accordingly, Plaintiff has not rebutted the presumption of
domicile and cannot defeat removal on that ground.*fn1
Plaintiff next argues that Defendant has not demonstrated that the
$75,000 jurisdictional prerequisite has been met because "the prayer for
relief presented in the Complaint demands judgment in an amount in excess
of $50,000."*fn2 Motion at ¶ 5. However, "the amount in controversy
is not measured by the low end of an open-ended claim, but rather by a
reasonable reading of the value of the rights being litigated."
Angus v. Shiley, Inc., 989 F.2d 142, 145 (3d Cir. 1993). A case
should be remanded only if it is apparent to a legal certainty that the
plaintiff cannot recover the jurisdictional amount. Samuel-Bassett
v. KIA Motors America, Inc., 357 F.3d 392, 398 (3d Cir. 2004). In
this case, Plaintiff alleges that his left leg was struck by the rotating
blade of a power saw, cutting his flesh to the bone. Compl. at ¶ 7.
As a result, he suffered "serious and severe" injuries, including
"lacerations and tearing of the muscles, tendons, nerves and connective
tissues in plaintiff's left leg, permanent scarring of the skin,
permanent neurological loss in plaintiff's left ankle and foot, shock and
trauma to plaintiff's nervous system, and other injuries." Id.
at ¶ 8. On the basis of these claims, the Court cannot conclude to a
legal certainty that Plaintiff could not recover in excess of
For the foregoing reasons, this Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion for
Remand. An appropriate Order follows. ORDER
AND NOW, this ___ day of May, 2004, upon consideration of Plaintiff's
Motion for Remand (docket no. 6) and Defendant's response thereto (docket
no. 7), it is ORDERED that the Motion is DENIED for
the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum.