United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the court for disposition is Plaintiff Tami Pivtchev's
motion to remand this matter to the Luzerne County Court of
Common Pleas. The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe
State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company insured plaintiff
pursuant to an automobile insurance agreement. (Doc. 1-2,
Compl. ¶ 4). On June 2, 2016, plaintiff was involved in
an automobile accident in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
(Id. ¶ 8-10). Plaintiff suffered severe
personal injuries due to the accident including a cervical
herniation causing radiculopathy in the right arm and hand.
(Id. ¶ 13). Another driver caused the accident,
but that driver's insurance was insufficient to
compensate plaintiff for her injuries. (Id. ¶
sought underinsured motorist benefits from defendant, which
it has not paid. (Id. ¶ 23-24). The
underinsured motorists benefit limit on the policy is $25,
000.00. (Id. ¶ 21).
upon these facts plaintiff instituted the instant lawsuit on
November 12, 2018 by filing a two-count complaint in the
Court of Common Pleas for Luzerne County. The two counts are
breach of contract and bad faith. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages, interest, punitive damages and counsel
fees. (Id. ¶ 56).
January 25, 2019, defendant filed a “Notice of
Removal” of the case to this court. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff
has filed a motion to remand the case to Luzerne County.
(Doc. 3). The parties have briefed this motion, and it is
ripe for disposition.
courts, being courts of limited jurisdiction, have a
continuing duty to satisfy themselves of jurisdiction before
addressing the merits of a case. Packard v. Provident
Nat=l Bank, 994 F.2d 1039, 1049 (3d Cir. 1993) cert.
denied sub nom Upp v. Mellon Bank, N.A., 510 U.S. 964
(1993). Generally, a defendant can remove a civil action
originally filed in state court if the federal court would
have had original jurisdiction to address the matter. 28
U.S.C. § 1441. Once a case is removed, the federal court
may remand if the court determines that it lacks federal
subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c). Removal statutes are to be strictly
construed against removal, and all doubts should be resolved
in favor of remand. Boyer v. Snap-On Tools Corp.,
913 F.2d 108, 111 (3d Cir. 1990).
burden of establishing jurisdiction in the removal situation
rests with the defendant. Kaufman v. Allstate N.J., Ins.
Co., 561 F.3d 144, 151 (3d Cir. 2009) (“We require
the party seeking to remove to federal court to demonstrate
federal jurisdiction.”). In the notice of removal, the
defendant indicates that this court has diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. 1, Notice of
Removal ¶ ¶ 12-13). Pursuant to this statutory
section, jurisdiction is proper in federal district court
where the action involves citizens of different states and an
amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, in
excess of $75, 000.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
motion to remand raises three issues: a procedural defect in
the defendant's notice of removal, a lack of diversity of
citizenship between the parties, and the failure to meet the
amount in controversy requirement. We will address these
issues in turn.
first issue plaintiff raises involves a procedural defect in
the original notice of removal. The law provides that
“[a] defendant . . . desiring to remove any civil
action from a State court shall file in the district court .
. . a copy of all process . .” within thirty (30) days
as part of its notice of removal. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a).
instant case, plaintiff argues that the notice of removal did
not include the Sheriff's return of service of process
form which was a part of the state court case. Defendant
acknowledges that it did not file the service of process
form. To remedy its ...