Luce v. Kohl's Department Stores Inc.
Plaintiff Stipulated That Amount In Controversy Is Less Than $75K
Civil Procedure | Venue | Jurisdiction and Service of Process | Torts | Personal Injury
- U.S. District Court
- May 23 2014 (Date Decided)
- Meyer, J.
A District Court may return a case to the Superior Court, if the plaintiff stipulates that the amount in controversy is less than $75,000. Allegedly, the plaintiff, Laurie Luce, went shopping at Kohl’s Department store, stepped in a liquid and fell. Luce allegedly injured her back and suffered from emotional distress. Luce filed a complaint against Kohl’s in Connecticut Superior Court, and Kohl’s removed the case to the United States District Court. Luce filed a motion to return the case to Connecticut Superior Court. District courts nationwide are divided on whether a plaintiff may obtain a return to Superior Court, by filing a stipulation that the amount in controversy is less than $75,000. The District Court found that return of Luce’s case to Superior Court serves the purpose of judicial economy. Federal diversity jurisdiction requires that the amount in controversy equal $75,000 or more. Here, the plaintiff stipulated that the amount in controversy is less than $75,000, and the District Court granted the plaintiff’s motion. “Judicial economy and the essential purpose of Congress—to close the federal courthouse doors to small-dollar diversity lawsuits,” wrote the court, “is served.” The defendant’s decision to remove the plaintiff’s case to District Court was objectively reasonable, and the court denied the plaintiff’s request for attorney fees incurred as a result of the removal to District Court.