United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. Teilborg, Senior United States District Judge.
before the Court are Plaintiff Barry Lynn Moon's
(“Moon”) Motion to Remand, (Doc. 18), and
Defendant American Family Mutual Insurance Company SI's
(“American Family”) Motion for Change of Venue
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404, (Doc. 7). Both parties
have responded, (Doc. 22 & 23), and replied (Doc. 26
January of 2018, Moon, an insured, brought breach of contract
and bad faith claims against American Family, his insurer, in
Maricopa County Superior Court. (Doc. 1-1 at 1-7). Moon
claims that American Family is obligated to pay the $55,
785.22 he incurred defending, and ultimately settling, a
negligence claim, as well as costs and attorneys' fees
incurred in compelling American Family to comply with his
insurance policy. (Doc. 1-1 at 5-7).
February of 2018, American Family removed the case to this
Court. (Doc. 1). Moon now seeks to remand to Maricopa County
Superior Court, arguing that this Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction because American Family has failed to plead a
sufficient amount in controversy to establish diversity
jurisdiction. (Doc. 18).
Article III, this Court's exercise of judicial power is
contingent upon the presence of subject-matter jurisdiction.
See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. One such form of
jurisdiction is diversity jurisdiction, see id.; 28
U.S.C. § 1332, which exists where the parties are of
completely diverse citizenship and where the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a); Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 89
removed case, “[t]here is a strong presumption that the
plaintiff has not claimed a large [enough] amount in order to
confer jurisdiction on a federal court.” St. Paul
Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 290
(1938). Accordingly, the defendant bears the burden of
establishing that the amount-in-controversy requirement is
met by a preponderance of the evidence. Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1446(c)(2)(B). “Conclusory allegations as to the
amount in controversy are insufficient.” Chavez v.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., No. 16-55957, 2018 WL 1882908,
at *2 (9th Cir. Apr. 20, 2018) (quoting Corral v. Select
Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 878 F.3d 770, 774 (9th Cir.
parties agree that they are completely diverse, as Moon is a
citizen of Arizona and American Family is a citizen of
Wisconsin. See (Doc. 23 at 2). Therefore, the
only issue is whether American Family has established, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000.
Family argues that the amount-in-controversy requirement is
satisfied, because: (1) Moon's complaint alleges that he
paid $15, 000 to settle his negligence suit and that he
incurred $55, 785.22 in attorneys' fees and costs,
totaling $70, 785.22; (2) Moon seeks pre- and post-judgment
interest, totaling $12, 400; and (3) Moon seeks
attorneys' fees incurred in the present action and
punitive damages. (Doc. 23 at 2-4); see (Doc. 1 at
2). Accordingly, American Family claims, the amount in
controversy is “at least $83, 000.” (Doc. 23 at
4). These three arguments will be considered in turn.
American Family's argument that Moon's claimed
damages total $70, 785.22 misunderstands the complaint.
Moon's claimed damages of $55, 785.22 included the
Settlement Amount of $15, 000. (Doc. 1-1 at 5, 7). Therefore,
American Family erred in double counting the settlement
amount, and Moon only seeks $55, 785.22 in compensatory