United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Michael H. Watson Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION.
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Remand.
(Doc. 12). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
RECOMMENDS that the Motion to Remand be DENIED.
is a State Tested Nursing Assistant (“STNA”)
licensed in Ohio, who claims that she was improperly denied
payment for care she rendered to her mother, Barbara Nagel,
as a provider for Defendants, each of which does business as
“aetna.” (See Doc. 7). Although
Plaintiff filed this case in the Court of Common Pleas for
Franklin County, Ohio, certain Defendants filed a Notice of
Removal in this Court pursuant to its diversity and federal
question jurisdiction. (See Doc. 1). Plaintiff filed
a Motion to Remand (Doc. 12), which is now ripe for
consideration. (See Doc. 17 (Opposition); Doc. 18
basis for removing a state court case to federal court
“must be disclosed upon the face of the complaint,
unaided by the answer or by the petition for removal.”
Gully v. First Nat'l Bank, 299 U.S. 109, 113
(1936); see also Powell v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
No. 14-155-HRW, 2015 WL 2063966, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Apr. 30,
2015) (noting that “jurisdiction is determined at the
time of removal”). Thus, the Court may not consider
defenses in deciding if a case may be removed. See
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393 (1987);
Loftis v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 342 F.3d 509,
515 (6th Cir. 2003). Because removing a case interferes with
the state court's jurisdiction, removal statutes are
construed narrowly. See Long v. Bando Mfg. Co. of Am.,
Inc., 201 F.3d 754, 757 (6th Cir. 2000) (stating
“removal statutes are to be narrowly construed”
because “they implicate federalism concerns”).
claims are for unjust enrichment (Count I), declaratory
judgment (Count II), further relief under Ohio Revised Code
§ 2721.09 (Count III), further relief in equity (Count
IV), and bad faith with damages (Count V). This Court
examines whether it has diversity jurisdiction or federal
question jurisdiction over this case.
requirements for federal jurisdiction based on diversity of
citizenship are set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Diversity is satisfied if no plaintiff and no defendant are
citizens of the same state, and the amount in controversy is
$75, 000 or greater. See 3LI Consultant Grp. v. Catholic
Health Partners, No. 1:15-cv-455, 2016 WL 246202, at *1
(S.D. Ohio Jan. 21, 2016). Whether Plaintiff will prevail on
her claims is irrelevant for the purposes of determining the
amount in controversy. See Garza v. Bettcher Indus.,
Inc., 752 F.Supp. 753, 763 (E.D. Mich. 1990). It is
sufficient if a fair reading of the Complaint demonstrates
that, if Plaintiff is successful, it is more likely than not
that her damages will exceed the required amount.
to the briefs, the issue of whether complete diversity exists
concerns only Defendant Aetna Better Health, Inc.
(“ABH”). The removing Defendants acknowledge that
both Plaintiff and ABH are citizens of Ohio, but they argue
that ABH must be ignored for diversity purposes because it
“was fraudulently and improperly joined for purposes of
attempting to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction.”
(Doc. 17 at 1, 3).
fraudulent joinder is alleged, the Court may “pierce
the pleadings” to consider “summary-judgment-type
evidence, ” which it evaluates in a manner “akin
to that of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, ” but
“is arguably even more deferential.” Walker
v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 443 F. App'x 946, 954 (6th
Cir. 2011). Construing any contested issues of fact in
Plaintiff's favor, the Court must determine if the
removing Defendants have satisfied their burden of
demonstrating that Plaintiff has no colorable cause of action
against ABH. Id. at 951. Stated differently, the
Court must determine if the removing Defendants have
demonstrated that there is no reasonable basis “for
predicting that the state law might impose ...