United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge
pending before the Court is Plaintiff Gabrielle Krueger's
(“Krueger”) Motion to Remand (Dkt. 6), and
Defendant Jason Stively's (“Stively”) Motion
to Amend/Correct the Notice of Removal and Answer (Dkt. 10).
Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that
the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented.
Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and
because the Court finds that the decisional process would not
be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will
decide the Motions without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc.
Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court finds good cause to DENY Krueger's Motion to Remand
(Dkt. 6) and DISMISS Stively's Motion to Amend/Correct
the Notice of Removal and Answer (Dkt. 10) as MOOT.
and Stively both own real property on Stagecoach Road in Ada
County, Idaho. Both properties were at one time owned by
Plaintiff's father. A portion of Stagecoach Road runs
along Stively's property and provides the only access to
Krueger's property. Plaintiff contends that her family
has “continuously used Stagecoach Road for access to
the Krueger Property . . . since [the] parcel was purchased
[in 1999].” Dkt. 1-1, at 3.
2015, Krueger began drafting business plans to develop the
Krueger Property into a riding stable-where she intends to
provide riding lessons and horse boarding services. In
furtherance of this project, Krueger plans to improve
Stagecoach Road. In 2016, she applied for a special use
permit from Ada County and requested a public hearing before
the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission. A hearing was
held, and the Commission found that Krueger's plan was in
line with the County's comprehensive plan and all
applicable County ordinances.
2017, Stively purchased his property-previously owned by
Plaintiff's father- on Stagecoach Road. In 2018,
Plaintiff's father deeded a parcel of land (referred to
as the “Krueger Property”) to her. A dispute soon
arose between Krueger and Stively regarding the scope of
Krueger's easement over Stagecoach Road. Krueger
ultimately filed this matter in state court on August 23,
complaint includes two causes of action: (1) Quiet Title for
an easement by implication over Stagecoach Road; and (2)
Declaratory Relief for judicial determination of the rights,
obligations, and interest of the parties with regard to the
easement. On September 17, 2018, Stively removed the case to
federal court on the grounds of diversity jurisdiction.
Krueger then filed a Motion to Remand arguing that removal
was improper because complete diversity does not exist, and
the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000.
from state court is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 28
U.S.C. § 1332. Section 1441(b) allows for removal based
on diversity of citizenship. For this to occur, there must be
complete diversity of citizenship between the parties
(meaning each of the plaintiffs is a citizen of a different
state than each of the defendants), and the amount in
controversy must exceed $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). Whether diversity exists is generally
determined from the face of the complaint. Gould v.
Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York, 790 F.2d 769, 773 (9th
courts strictly construe the removal statute against removal.
See Gaus v. Miles, 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.1992).
In diversity cases where the amount in controversy is in
doubt, there is a presumption against removal jurisdiction,
which means the defendant always has the burden of
establishing that removal is proper. Id. This burden
is satisfied if the plaintiff claims a sum greater than the
jurisdictional requirement of $75, 000, or if the amount
claimed is unclear from the complaint and the defendant
proves by a preponderance of the evidence that “more
likely than not” the jurisdictional requirement is met.
See Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d
398, 404 (9th Cir.1996). This “more likely than
not” standard strikes an appropriate balance between
the plaintiff's right to choose their forum and the
defendant's right to remove. Id.
determine whether the amount in controversy requirement has
been met, the Court may consider “facts presented in
the removal petition as well as any summary judgment-type
evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of
removal.” See Cohn v. Petsmart, Inc., 281 F.3d
837, 839 (9th Cir. 2002). Conclusory allegations by the
defendant, or speculative arguments about the potential value
of an award, however, will not suffice to overcome the
traditional presumption against removal jurisdiction. See
Singer v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373,
375-77 (9th Cir.1997); Gaus, 980 F.2d at 567.
“[T]he defendant bears the burden of actually proving
the facts to support . . . the jurisdictional amount.”
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 567.