United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
WOLFE FA, LLC, a North Carolina, Limited Liability Company, M14 PARTS AND ARMORY, LLC, a North Carolina Limited Liability Company, and WOLFE PRECISION MANUFACTURING, LLC, a North Carolina Limited Liability Company, Plaintiffs,
BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC., LLC, an Ohio Limited Liability Company, d/b/a BULA INC., BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, and BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC.; BDSI, Inc., an Ohio Corporation d/b/a BULA, INC., BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, and BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC.; BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC.; BULA FORGE & MACHINE, INC., an Ohio Corporation d/b/a BULA, INC., BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, and BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC., and; N. JEFF MILLER, d/b/a BDS, INC., and d/b/a BULA DEFENSE SYSTEMS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
REIDINGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiffs'
Motion to Remand. [Doc. 9]. The Defendants oppose the
Plaintiffs' Motion. [Doc. 14].
August 15, 2018, Wolfe F.A., LLC; M14 Parts and Armory, LLC;
and Wolfe Precision Manufacturing, LLC (collectively
“Plaintiffs”), filed this action in the Superior
Court for Polk County against Bula Defense Systems, Inc.,
LLC; BDSI, Inc.; Bula Defense Systems, Inc.; Bula Forge &
Machine, Inc.; and N. Jeff Miller (collectively
“Defendants”). [Doc. 1 at 8]. The Plaintiffs'
Complaint requests monetary damages in excess of $25, 000,
punitive damages in excess of $25, 000, and a declaratory
judgment against the Defendants. [See id.].
April 12, 2019, the Defendants filed a Notice of Removal
based on federal diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). [Id.]. According to the Defendants,
federal diversity jurisdiction exists here because
“complete diversity exists between all parties and the
amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $75, 000, exclusive
of interests and costs.” [Id. at ¶ 3].
12, 2019, the Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Remand arguing
several grounds for remanding the case. [Doc. 9]. First, the
Plaintiffs argue that the Defendants did not comply with 28
U.S.C. § 1446(b) because they failed to file their
Notice of Removal within thirty days after service of the
Complaint. [Id. at ¶ 3]. Second, they
argue that the Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of
“proving the $75, 000 amount in controversy requirement
for diversity jurisdiction.” [Id.]. Finally,
the Plaintiffs claim that the Defendants waived any right of
removal by demonstrating a “‘clear and
unequivocal intent' to remain in state court.”
[Id. at ¶ 4].
28, 2019, the Defendants filed their Brief in Opposition to
the Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand. [Doc. 14]. The
Defendants argue that their Notice of Removal was timely
filed, [Id. at 1], the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000, [Id. at 2], and they have not waived their
right to removal because they never stated a “clear and
unequivocal intent to remain in state court.”
[Id. at 3]. To support their claim that the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000, the Defendants note that the
Plaintiffs' Complaint claimed monetary damages in excess
of $25, 000 for alleged breach of contract and punitive
damages in excess of $25, 000 for alleged misrepresentation
and fraud, and that the “referenced agreement, and the
actions the Plaintiffs seek to order the Defendants to
perform, are “valued at several million dollars.”
[Id. at 2]. Notably, the contract referenced by the
parties is not contained in the record.
4, 2019, the Plaintiffs filed their Reply to the
Defendants' Brief in Opposition. [See Doc. 15].
The Plaintiffs argue that the Defendants failed to show that
the amount in controversy is satisfied here and that the
Defendants waived their right to removal. [See id.].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions between
citizens of different states if the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000 and complete diversity exists between the
parties. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). A defendant
may remove a civil action from a state court if the action is
one “of which the district courts of the United States
have original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
courts are “obliged to construe removal jurisdiction
strictly because of the ‘significant federalism
concerns' implicated.” Dixon v. Coburg Dairy,
Inc., 369 F.3d 811, 816 (4th Cir. 2004) (en banc)
(quoting Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chems. Co., 29
F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994)). As such, courts must
“resolve all doubts in favor of remand.”
Strawn v. AT&T Mobility, LLC, 530 F.3d 293, 297
(4th Cir. 2008). “If federal jurisdiction is doubtful,
a remand is necessary.” Mulcahey, 29 F.3d at
been fully briefed, this matter is ripe for disposition.