United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Michael Vazquez, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Parveen Sayani
and, her husband, Abdul Sayani's (collectively
"Plaintiffs") motion to remand to state court.
Defendant Whole Foods Market ("Defendant") opposes
this motion. This motion was decided without oral argument
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78 and Local
Civil Rule 78.1. The Court has reviewed the parties'
submissions in support and opposition,  and for the
reasons stated below, Plaintiffs' motion is
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
about July 25, 2018, Plaintiffs instituted this action in the
Superior Court of New Jersey. Pl. Br., Ex. A. Plaintiffs
alleged that Parveen Sayani fell and suffered injuries as a
result of Defendants' failure to "properly own,
operate, maintain, control, repair and/or supervise the
subject premises." Id. at 3. Plaintiffs
specifically alleged in their Complaint that "as a
direct and proximate result of the negligence of the
defendants, " Parveen Sayani
was caused to fall and suffer injuries, has suffered and will
in the future suffer much pain in mind and body, has incurred
and will in the future incur expenses for medical care and
treatment, has suffered and will in the future suffer
economic loss, was unable and will in the future be unable to
attend to her usual and customary activities and was caused
to suffer permanent injury.
Id. at 3. Plaintiffs also alleged the following
regarding Abdul Sayani:
As a result of the negligence of the defendants aforesaid,
plaintiff, ABDUL SAYANI, has been caused to suffer a loss of
consortium, has been forced to undertake certain activities
that he did not previously have to perform, has been caused
to suffer great mental anguish as a result of his wife's
injuries, has been forced to expend sums of money for medical
care, has suffered economic damages and will in the future be
caused to suffer said losses.
Id. at 4. Plaintiffs' Complaint did not allege a
specific amount of damages or include an allegation that
their damages exceed the minimum federal jurisdictional
about September 21, 2018, Defendant Whole Foods filed an
Answer. Pl. Br., Ex. B. Defendant denied the allegations and
asserted fifteen affirmative defenses. Id. at 1-5.
Additionally, Defendant included the following request for a
statement of damages: "Defendant requests that Plaintiff
furnish, within five (5) days of the date hereof, a written
specification of the amount of damages claimed, in accordance
with R. 4:5-2." Id. at 1 -5. As far as
this Court is aware, Plaintiffs did not respond to
Defendant's request for a statement of damages.
November 5, 2018, Defendant made a second request, this time
through a request for admissions, to learn Plaintiffs'
alleged amount in controversy. Pl. Br., Ex. D at 34. The
request for admissions directed Plaintiffs to admit or deny
the truth of the following statement: "Plaintiffs'
damages, if proven at trial, are valued in excess of $75,
000, exclusive of interests and costs." Id. On
November 27, 2018, Plaintiffs responded to Defendant's
request and admitted that their alleged damages were over
$75, 000. Id. at 38. Defendant claims that this
response was the first instance that put Defendant on notice
that the amount in controversy exceeded S75, 000. Def. Opp.
December 13, 2018, Defendant Whole Foods removed the case to
this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) on the basis
of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
Pl. Br., Ex. D¶¶ 11-14. According to Defendants,
Plaintiffs are citizens of New Jersey. Id. ¶2.
Defendant Whole Foods is a citizen of Delaware and Texas.
Id. ¶ 1. In its notice of removal, Defendant
alleged that complete diversity of citizenship exists between
the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000, so removal is proper. Id. ¶ 9-11.
Defendant further claimed that removal is timely under 28
U.S.C. § 1446(b) because the notice of removal was filed
within thirty days of Defendant's first notice that
Plaintiffs' claimed damages exceed $75, 000 and within
one year of the filing of the Complaint. Id. ¶
December 28, 2018, Plaintiffs filed the current motion to
remand this case to state court, alleging that
Defendant's removal was untimely because the notice was
filed over thirty days after Defendant received the summons
and complaint. D.E. 4; Pl. Br. at 4. Defendant filed
opposition, D.E. 5-2, to which Plaintiffs replied, D.E. 6.