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Florida Federal Court Declines to Remand Personal Injury Case Back to State Court

old-courthouse-1221033In Derringer v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., a woman suffered an injury when an employee of a Cracker Barrel restaurant negligently struck her with a serving tray of food. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against Cracker Barrel in Florida state court. Some time later, the restaurant removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity of citizenship.

Under civil procedure rules, when a lawsuit includes parties from two different states, and the amount of damages in the lawsuit is in excess of $75,000, either party has the choice to remove the case to federal court. The party who opts to remove has the burden of establishing that the removal is appropriate. When that party meets its burden, the case must be removed. It is significant to note that removal statutes are to be strictly construed against removal. This means that if there is any doubt as to proper subject matter jurisdiction, it should be resolved against removal.

After removal was granted to the restaurant, the plaintiff requested that the court remand the case to Florida state court. The plaintiff argued that the restaurant failed to seek removal in a timely manner. She alleged that the restaurant had evidence for months before it sought removal. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed that the restaurant did not sufficiently meet the statutory amount in question for damages, namely $75,000.

Cracker Barrel argued that the parties were in fact citizens of different states, the amount in controversy was clearly established, and the request to remove the case to federal court was within the appropriate time frame.

The court examined the case and stated that the plaintiff had acknowledged in her deposition testimony that the damages in the case were worth a minimum of $200,000. The federal court also went on to highlight that the restaurant’s motion was timely and that the request was actually filed within 30 days of the plaintiff’s testimony pertaining to damages. Lastly, the court noted that the plaintiff was a citizen of Florida but argued that the restaurant had not shown diversity of citizenship. even though Cracker Barrel had provided an affidavit mentioning that the restaurant was incorporated and maintained its principal place of business in Tennessee. This information was sufficient to establish diversity of citizenship.

Ultimately, the federal court stated that the plaintiff’s argument was not persuasive, nor did any evidence substantiate it. Thus, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to remand the case.

Procedural rules are vital to any personal injury case, which is why hiring an attorney who has an in-depth knowledge of procedural rules can make all the difference in your case. If you have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to seek the guidance of a qualified Miami premises liability attorney. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our team is well versed in virtually all aspects of injury law. We can work diligently to assess the merits of your case and determine the viability of your claim. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. For more information, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online.

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