Thursday, November 04, 2010

Removal. The Second Circuit held that the time to remove a case begins to run from the time that the amount of damages are specified, not from the time the complaint is served (though, of course, that can be the same time). In Moltner v. Starbucks Coffee Co., the plaintiff did not specify the damages in her complaint. The defendant served a Request for Supplemental Demand for Relief. The plaintiff responded that she sought damages not to exceed $3 million. The defendant then sought to remove the case to federal court. The plaintiff sought to remand the case to state court, claiming that the removal was untimely. The Court declined to remand and granted defendants' motion for summary judgment (discussed in another post). The plaintiff appealed from the order denying her motion for remand and granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment.

The Second Circuit in upholding the decision not to remand the case, stated: "We join the Eighth Circuit, as well as all of the district courts in this Circuit to have addressed the issue, inholding that the removal clock does not start to run until the plaintiff serves the defendant with a paper that explicitly specifies the amount of monetary damages." The Court felt that it was unreasonable for a defendant to be forced to guess the defendant's damage and seek removal on the basis of such a guess.

The decision in this case can be found here.

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