Well, Insurance Lawyers, here it is happening again. Knowing the little ways to keep a lower dollar case out of Federal Court are just too simple for it to happen again and again. This 2020, opinion is also from the Southern District, Houston Division, and is styled, Michael Dyll and Remi Dyll v. Palomar Specialty Insurance Company.
The Dylls sued Palomar in State Court and Palomar properly removed the case to Federal Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C., Section 1441(a). A defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that subject matter jurisdiction exists. The operative facts and pleadings are evaluated at the time of removal.
Federal Courts have jurisdiction when the parties are from different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. The amount in controversy is ordinarily determined on the basis of the sum demanded in good faith in the initial pleading. A demand is made in bad faith if its purpose is to defeat Federal jurisdiction. The removing defendant must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. A Plaintiff must make a showing that his recovery will not exceed the amount stated in the complaint if the amount is less than $75,000. To make such a showing of legal certainty, Texas plaintiffs must file a binding stipulation or affidavit with the original state petition. A stipulation filed after removal is irrelevant to the court’s analysis.