The Fifth Circuit reversed the denial of a motion to remand when:

  1. The defendant’s claimed amount in controversy did not tie to the plaintiff’s specific claim. “Deutsche Bank failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy was over $75,000. Deutsche Bank submitted evidence of the Property’s value [$427,662], which obviously exceeded the jurisdictional threshold. But Deutsche Bank failed to show that the automatic stay at issue here put the house’s value in controversy.”
  2. The plaintiff stipulated it sought no more than $74,500Citing a statement in the plaintiff’s pleading and an near-identical one in a later declaration, the Court said: “The best reading of these two statements is that Durbois is seeking–and will accept–no more than $74,500.” It continued: “Deutsche Bank claims these statements are insufficient. We don’t see why. Durbois used two forms of the word ‘stipulation’ and even bolded it once. A reasonable reader would understand that Durbois was limiting not only what he demanded but what he would accept from the suit. Perhaps Deutsche Bank thinks Durbois “should have used CAPITAL LETTERS …. [o]r maybe … should have added: ‘And [I] really mean it!!!’” But we don’t think such measures are necessary.”

Durbois v. Deutsche Bank, No. 20-11082 (June 16, 2022) (emphasis added, citation omitted)). The opinion thoroughly reviews the case law on these basic issues, and the “CAPITAL LETTERS” point may prove meme-worthy in the months ahead.

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