Removal; attorney fees
Even though a plaintiff should have objected to removal, because of the jurisdictional dollar limit, attorney fees were properly denied to the defendant, where it also did not timely alert the court to the issue.
“The court plainly understood that Micrometl had the relevant information in its possession to arrive at a more accurate calculation of the amount in controversy, but it failed to analyze the information to determine how much money was at stake. In that regard, the court agreed with Tranzact’s argument that Micrometl should have known that it could not recover the amount required to secure diversity jurisdiction. We also note that the court was not hoodwinked by Micrometl’s contradictory arguments, asserting on one hand that the amount in controversy was sufficient to satisfy diversity jurisdiction, yet on the other that it had never claimed that damages were in excess of $100,000. ‘Entirely disingenuous’ is how the court described Micrometl’s position, and we are inclined to agree.”
“We suspect that if that was all there was to this case, the district court would have sided with Tranzact. This is not because Micrometl likely inflated its allegation of damages in state court; in that forum the amount in controversy has no jurisdictional effect. See Rising-Moore, 435 F.3d at 815. But if Micrometl knew that the amount in controversy could not satisfy § 1332(a), it should have opposed removal or alerted the district court that jurisdiction was lacking. The court understandably expressed its dismay at Micrometl’s failure to do so. Yet the court was equally troubled by Tranzact’s ten-month delay in alerting it to the problem with subject-matter jurisdiction once Tranzact had the relevant facts in hand.
In the court’s view, Tranzact’s delay in seeking remand undercut its entitlement to fees and costs under § 1447(c).”
10-3134 Micrometl Corp. v. Transact Technologies, Inc.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Nolan, Mag. J., Wood, J.