Removal to Federal Court Upheld

Plaintiff, a Louisiana resident, filed suit in state court seeking damages for bodily injuries suffered as a result of an automobile accident. The defendant driver was from Texas and his insurance company was a Rhode Island corporation. Approximately seven months after the state lawsuit was filed, plaintiff responded to discovery requests indicating that her claims may exceed $75,000.00. Thereafter, defendants removed the suit to federal court. Plaintiff objected on the grounds that the removal was untimely.

Arguing before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, defendants asserted that they did not learn the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.00 until plaintiff’s discovery responses were received; and defendants timely removed the matter within thirty days thereafter. Plaintiff claimed that the state court petition made it facially clear that the claim for damages exceeded $75,000.00. The U.S. District Court held that defendants could not have ascertained that the case was removable until they received plaintiff’s discovery responses. Thereafter, defendants’ removal of the state court suit to federal court was upheld.

Couvillion v. Amica Mutual Insurance Company

Robert N. Popich