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RIDEAUX v. ACE AMERICAN COMPANY, et al

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Case Number: 
3:15-cv-00298 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Judy Rideaux
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Middle District of Louisiana
Date Filed: 
May 13 2015

 

NOTICE OF REMOVAL OF CIVIL ACTION

TO: THE HONORABLE JUDGES OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA:

NOW INTO COURT, by and through undersigned counsel, come Kinchen L. Hill,
Heartland Express, Inc. and ACE American Insurance Company, made defendants, who have
been served with a Petition for Damages, and who, with a full reservation of all rights, and
while preserving all defenses and objections, hereby remove the below described state court
civil action to this Honorable Court since there is complete diversity of citizenship between the
plaintiff and these defendants and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of
interest and costs.

I

The subject of this Notice of Removal of Civil Action is a Petition for Damages filed
April 15, 2015 in the 20th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Feliciana, State of

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Louisiana, in proceedings entitled “Judy Rideaux versus Ace American Insurance Company,
Heartland Express, Inc. and Kinchen L. Hill” Civil Suit No. 43,549B (A copy of the Petition
for Damages is attached. Exhibit “A”)

n.

The subject of the captioned lawsuit are allegations arising from a two vehicle accident
in East Baton Rouge Parish on or about April 19, 2014 involving a motor vehicle operated by
Plaintiff, Judy Rideaux and a motor vehicle operated by Defendant, Kinchen L. Hill.

m.

The Petition for Damages is removable to this Court pursuant to 28 USC 1332, and 28
USC 1441(a) and (b) in that complete diversity of citizenship exists between the plaintiff and
all properly joined and served defendants.

Timely Removal

IV.

Made defendants, Ace American Insurance Company, Heartland Express, Inc. and
Kinchen L. Hill, allegedly were served with a Petition for Damages on April 20, 2015 and
Affidavits were filed into the state court record by Plaintiff on May 5, 2015 pertaining to
service made by the Long Arm Statute on Heartland Express, Inc. and on Kinchen Hill on April
20, 2015. (Exhibit B) ACE American Insurance Company was served on April 24, 2015.
(Exhibit C) Further, as shown by Exhibit D, a copy of May 5, 2015 correspondence from
Plaintiffs counsel to the counsel for Defendants regarding medical records of Plaintiff, which

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constituted Defendants’ first notice and accompanying documentation to demonstrate the
amount in controversy exceeded $75,000. Thus, since fewer than thirty (30) days have passed
since Defendants were served and/or from the date Defendants received the “other paper from
which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable,” this
Notice of Removal is timely. 28 USC 1446(b)(3). Further, less than one year has lapsed since
the date suit was filed. 28 USC 1446(c)(1). Moreover, no previous application for removal
has been made.

Complete Diversity

V.

The Petition for Damages asserts Plaintiff is a resident of and domiciled in East
Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. (See Exhibit A at the Introduction of the Petition for Damages)

VI.

The Petition for Damages asserts that ACE American Insurance Company is “a foreign
insurance company.” (See Exhibit A at Paragraph 1 (A)).

VII

Through information and belief, ACE American Insurance Company is domiciled in
Pennsylvania, with its principal place of business in Philadelphia. (Exhibit E)

VIII

The Petition for Damages asserts that Heartland Express, Inc. “is a foreign corporation.”
(See Exhibit A at Paragraph 1 (B) and service instruction for Heartland Express, Inc., through
the Louisiana Long Arm Statute on the last (unnumbered) page of the Petition.)

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IX

The Petition for Damages asserts that Kinchen L. Hill is “domiciled and residing in the
State of Florida.” (See Exhibit A at Paragraph 1 (C) and service instruction for Kinchen L.
Hill, through the Louisiana Long Arm Statute on the last (unnumbered) page of the Petition.)

XI.

See also, Plaintiffs Affidavits attesting to service via the Louisiana Long Arm Statute
on Kitchen Hill and on Heartland Express, Inc. (Exhibit B)

Amount in Controversy

XII.

The Petition for Damages is silent as to the actual amount in controversy, though
Plaintiff alleges to have sustained severe personal injuries including but not limited o her
nervous system and other systems in her body resulting in extreme pain and suffering,
nervousness and aggravation. (Exhibit A at Paragraph 8)

XIII.

Plaintiff, Judy Rideaux itemized the damages to which she claims entitlement as a result
of the accident and injury giving rise to this lawsuit, at Exhibit A, Paragraph 9:

  1. “Past, present and future physical pain and suffering”;
  2. “Past, present and future mental pain and suffering”;
  3. “Loss of enjoyment of life”;
  4. “Past, present and future medical expenses”;
  5. “Past, present and future lost wages”;
  6. “Loss of earning capacity”;
  7. “Hedonic damages”;

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XIV.

Under the facts alleged in the Petition for Damages, the injuries asserted by Plaintiff,
Judy Rideaux, potentially could result in medical bills and general damages that could exceed
$75,000.

XV.

Irrespective of the damages alleged in the Petition for Damages, the Petition for
Damages did not comply with the provisions of LA CCP 893, which requires that “if a specific
amount of damages is necessary to establish... the lack of jurisdiction of a federal courts due to
insufficiency of damages, or for other purposes, a general allegation that the claim exceeds or is
less than the requisite amount is required.”

XV.

The removing party typically must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the
amount in controversy exceed $75,000. Grant v. Chevron Phillips Chem. Co., L.P., 209 F. 3d
864, 868 (5th Cir. 2002), cert, denied, 538 U S. 945 (2003). When the petition is unclear as to
the total amount claimed, the removing defendant is entitled to set forth facts demonstrating
that the claim exceeds $75,000. St. Paul Reins. Co., Ltd. v. Greenberg, 134 F. 3d 1250 (5th Cir.
1998).

XVI.

Accordingly, on April 30 2015, undersigned counsel wrote to Plaintiffs’ counsel to
advise of the deficiency in the Petition for Damages and referenced a draft of pleadings that

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could be filed in state court, as well as enclosing an Irrevocable Stipulation as to Amount in
Controversy, wherein Plaintiff was requested to stipulate whether the amount in controversy,
exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds $75,000. (Exhibit F)

XVII.

During a telephone conference on May 4, 2015 with undersigned counsel, counsel for
Plaintiff confirmed that Plaintiff was unwilling to stipulate that the amount in controversy,
exclusive of interest and costs, did not exceed $75,000, which position of Plaintiff was
confirmed by electronic mail. (Exhibit G)

XVIII.

Further, consistent with Plaintiffs representation during the telephone conference.
Plaintiff did not respond with an executed stipulation, as had been requested in the
correspondence of April 30, 2015.

XIX.

The medical records provided on May 5, 2015 by Plaintiff include medical records from
Baton Rouge Family Medical Center, Kleinpeter Physical Therapy and Baton Rouge
Orthopaedic for treatment of symptoms of pain to Plaintiffs bilateral ankles, bilateral shins,
left hip pain with radiculopathy, bilateral wrist and hand pain, and neck pain into bilateral
upper trapezius muscles. The medical treatment demonstrated through documents produced to
date cover the period of time from April 21, 2014 through February 24, 2015, with additional
records provided related to pharmacy records from Walgreens and Wal-Mart.


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XX.

As demonstrated above, this Court has original jurisdiction over this action pursuant to
28 USC 1332(a) because the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds the
sum or value of $75,000 and is between citizens of different states.

Consent to Removal

XXI.

Removal requires the unanimous consent of all defendants. 28 USC 1446(b)(2)(A). All
Defendant parties, ACE American Insurance Company, Heartland Express, Inc. and Kinchen L.
Hill, all consent to and join in the removal of this action. (Exhibit H)

Notice to Parties and to the State Court

XXII.

The state court and all parties to the state court action have been provided with notice of
this Notice of Removal of Civil Action, pursuant to 28 USC 1446(d). (Exhibit I)

XXIII.

Pursuant to 28 USC 1446(a), Defendants attach copies of all process, pleadings and
orders served upon Defendants in the state court action that is the subject of this Notice of
Removal of Civil Action, which includes the (1) Petition of Damages, (2) the Plaintiff s
Request for Written Notice of Assignment and Written Notice of Any Order or Judgment Made
or Rendered; (3) Civil Case Information Sheet; (4) Citation reflecting the return of Service on
Ace American Insurance Company; (5) Affidavit reflecting service through the Louisiana Long

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Arm Statute on Kinchen L. Hill; and (6) Affidavit reflecting service through the Louisiana
Long Arm Statute on Heartland Express, Inc.; (collectively. Exhibit J, but each scanned and
numbered separately 1-6 in compliance with the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Louisiana Administrative Procedures for Filing Electronic Documents for Civil and
Criminal Cases, rev’d May 2015, See, I.(B) General Filing Information, #4 ).

WHEREFORE, Defendants pray that this action be removed from the Twentieth
Judicial District Court, Parish of East Feliciana to the United States District Court for the
Middle District of Louisiana and proceed therein.

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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