Eleventh Circuit Lifts Barriers to Federal Removal

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A June 8 opinion by the Eleventh Circuit unravels at least two key aspects of the Eleventh Circuit’s controversial anti-removal decision in Lowery v. Alabama Power Co., 483 F.3d 1184 (11th Cir. 2007). The new opinion, issued in Pretka v. Kolter City Plaza II, Inc., 2010 WL 2278358, does not overrule Lowery, but dismisses significant parts of its analysis as unpersuasive, non-binding dicta.

First, Pretka rejects Lowery’s “receipt from the plaintiff” rule that limited a district court’s jurisdictional amount analysis in a removed diversity case to the four corners of the complaint and to information provided by the plaintiff on the amount in controversy. Pretka holds, to the contrary, that “[d]efendants may introduce their own affidavits, declarations or other documentation.” (Id. at 7.) Pretka also observes that “as far as we can tell, it has never been the jurisdictional rule that a defendant may remove a diversity case seeking unliquidated damages only when the plaintiff is the source of facts or evidence on the value of the case.” (Id. at 15.)

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