Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Case Against Wal-Mart Remanded Back to State Court After Defendant Found Not To Have Removed the Case in Time

In the case of Berry v. Wal-Mart Stores, East, L.P., No. 21-3496 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 2, 2022 Slomsky, J.), the court granted a Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand the case back to state court.

The court noted that the case would be remanded because the Defendants failed to remove the matter to federal court within thirty (30) days of being able to ascertain that the amount in controversy to establish diversity jurisdiction was met.

The court noted that, even though the Complaint did not directly state the amount in controversy, the facts pled noted that the Plaintiff had sustained a crush injury to her foot and that the Plaintiff was still undergoing continuing medical treatment. The court felt that, from these allegations, the Defendants could have reasonably and intelligently concluded that the jurisdictional amount was exceeded.

As such, the court reiterated the rule that the removal period began to run at the time the suit was filed, and not when the Plaintiff may have later specified damages in a Case Management Memorandum. 

While the court noted that the Case Management Memorandum could qualify as an “other paper” under the removal statute for purposes of attempting to ascertain the amount in controversy, the Complaint in this case was found to have provided enough information to start the running of removal period.

In this regard, the court noted that an ad damnum clause for a dollar amount less than the jurisdictional amount does not necessarily preclude a finding that the Plaintiff is seeking more than that amount. 

The court in this Berry case stated that, since the Plaintiff did not agree to stipulate to limit damages to the jurisdictional amount, the Defendants had other bases upon to believe that more money than the jurisdictional limit was being sought by the Plaintiff.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The Court's companion Order can be viewed HERE,

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck from the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of image:  Photo by Fabio Bracht on

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