United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Stephen Andrews, pro se
Michael D. Ramsdell, Esq.
J. Barbadoro United States District Judge
plaintiff Stephen Andrews (“Plaintiff” or
“Andrews) initiated a civil suit against Earl's
Restaurants USA Inc. and Earl's Restaurants Ltd.
(collectively “Defendants” or “Earl's
Restaurants”) in Rockingham County Superior Court on
July 2, 2019. On August 6, 2019, Earl's Restaurants
removed the action to federal court, invoking this
court's jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332
and § 1441 on the basis that there is complete diversity
of citizenship between the parties and the amount of
controversy exceeds $75, 000.
courts of limited jurisdiction, federal courts have a duty to
inquire sua sponte into the existence of their own
subject-matter jurisdiction. McCulloch v. Velez, 364
F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2004). The parties have clearly
established that diversity of citizenship exists,
leaving only the amount in controversy in question.
“the sum demanded in good faith in the initial pleading
shall be deemed to be the amount in controversy . . .
.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2). If the complaint does
not provide for such a sum, then “the notice of removal
may assert the amount in controversy . . . .”
Id. § 1446(c)(2)(A); accord Forrence v.
Koch, 18-cv-134-LM, 2018 WL 3360760, at *3 (D.N.H. July
9, 2018). Nonetheless, “a removing defendant's
simple say-so will not suffice to demonstrate that a case
meets the jurisdictional threshold.” Evans v. Yum
Brands, Inc., 326 F.Supp.2d 214, 220 (D.N.H. 2004);
accord McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp. of
Ind., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936) (“If [a
defendant's] allegations of jurisdictional facts are
challenged by his adversary in any appropriate manner, he
must support them by competent proof. And where they are not
so challenged the court may still insist that the
jurisdictional facts be established or the case be
“the court questions . . . the defendant's
allegation, ” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co.,
LLC v. Owens, 574 U.S. 81, 89 (2014), then “both
sides submit proof and the court decides, by a preponderance
of the evidence, whether the amount-in-controversy
requirement has been satisfied, ” id. at 88;
see 28 U.S.C. § 1444(c)(2)(B). To that end, the
parties may “submit summary-judgment-type evidence,
relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of
removal.” Evans, 326 F.Supp.2d at 220 (quoting
Allen v. R & H Oil & Gas Co., 63 F.3d 1326,
1336 (5th Cir. 1995)).
with New Hampshire practice, no specific amount of damages is
claimed in the complaint, ” Forrence, 2018 WL
3360760, at *3 n.2 (citing N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §
508:4-c), initially filed by Andrews in state
court. Asserting that removal is valid under this
court's diversity jurisdiction, Earl's Restaurants
has alleged only that “the matter in controversy
exceeds the sum or the value of $75, 000.00, exclusive of
interest and costs, and is between citizens of different
states.” Notice of Removal, Doc. No. 1 at 1 ¶2.
This “simple say-so” does not suffice to
establish the amount in controversy required upon removal to
this court. See Evans, 326 F.Supp.2d at 220.
defendants shall have fourteen (14) days to file a memorandum
with any supporting materials demonstrating that this court
has subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff shall have seven
(7) days to respond to defendants' memorandum. If the
defendants fail to file this memorandum, I will determine the
existence of subject matter jurisdiction on the parties'
 Andrews is a citizen of New Hampshire.
Notice of Removal, Doc. No. 1 at 1 ¶ 3. Earl's
Restaurants USA Inc. is a citizen of Nevada and Canada. Doc.
No. 1 at 2 ¶ 4. Earl's Restaurants Ltd. is a citizen
of Canada. Doc. No. 1 at 2 ¶ 5.
 Andrews's service document states,
“Claim: $400, 000, ” Doc. No. 1-1, but it is not
clear that this perfunctory statement satisfies the removal
procedure outlined in 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2).
Regardless, because Earl's Restaurants gave equally
fleeting attention to the basis for the amount in controversy
in the notice of removal, I am obligated to inquire sua
sponte whether I may exercise diversity ...