United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JO&EPR R. GOODWIN /UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is the plaintiffs' Motion to Remand [ECF
No. 6]. For the reasons stated below, the court
FINDS that removal was proper and
DENIES the Motion to Remand.
plaintiffs brought this action in the Circuit Court of
Fayette County, West Virginia, seeking to enforce the
defendants' alleged obligation to repair and maintain a
railroad crossing. The plaintiffs' Complaint alleges
that, pursuant to a deed, the defendants “are required
to maintain crossings over their railroad tracks to permit
Plaintiffs' access to their property.” Compl.
¶ 7 [ECF No. 1-2]. The plaintiffs seek specific relief:
“that Defendants be ordered to repair, replace and
maintain the crossings across their tracks to Plaintiffs'
property; that Plaintiffs be awarded damages for denial of
access; and the Court grant such other relief as may be
appropriate.” Id. ¶ 9.
plaintiffs attached a notarized Stipulation to their
Complaint, which states as follows:
Plaintiffs Vernon Miller, Jr. and Cora Miller, and Attorney
for Plaintiffs agree to be bound by the following
stipulation: so long as this case remains in West Virginia
Circuit Court or an Article III Court, the Plaintiffs shall
neither seek nor accept an amount greater than $75, 000.00 in
this case, including any award of attorney's fees, but
excluding interest and costs. This stipulation has no
application, force, or enforceability in an arbitration forum
or other alternative dispute resolution environment except
non-binding mediation as part of a court proceeding.
Not. Removal, Ex. B, Stipulation [ECF No. 1-2] at 7.
Notwithstanding the plaintiffs' Stipulation, the
defendants removed the action to this court, citing diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The plaintiffs have
moved to remand this action to the Circuit Court of Fayette
County, West Virginia, arguing that this court lacks subject
action may be removed from state court to federal court if it
is one over which the district court would have original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The burden of
establishing federal jurisdiction is placed on the party
seeking removal. Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chems.
Co., 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994). “A
defendant must prove proper jurisdiction by a preponderance
of the evidence.” Parsley v. Norfolk & Western
Ry. Co., No. 3:17-4322, 2018 WL 813158, at *1 (S.D.
W.Va. Feb. 9, 2018). If federal jurisdiction is doubtful,
remand is necessary. Mulcahey, 29 F.3d at 151.
here is premised on 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), which states:
“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds
the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs, and is between . . . citizens of different
States.” The parties agree that complete diversity
exists between the plaintiffs and the defendants. Thus, the
parties' sole dispute is whether the amount in
controversy requirement has been met in light of the
Calculation of Amount in Controversy
“Where a plaintiff does not specify a dollar amount in
his prayer for relief, the Court must determine the amount in
controversy.” Parsley, 2018 WL 813158, at *1.
In such cases, “[t]he value of the matter in
controversy . . . is determined by considering the judgment
that would be entered if plaintiff prevailed on the
merits.” Landmark Corp. v. Apogee Coal Co.,
945 F.Supp. 932, 936-37. (S.D. W.Va. 1996). In calculating
the amount in controversy, the court may ...