On December 15, the Supreme Court held that a defendant’s notice of removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a) needs only a “plausible allegation that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold.” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, No. 13-719, slip op. at 7 (U.S. Dec. 15, 2014). Any civil action in a state court may be removed from state court to the federal district court, under 28 U.S.C. § 1446, if the action satisfies the requirements for federal jurisdiction.
When removal is sought based on the diversity of citizenship of the parties, as inDart, the notice of removal must also show that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold ($75,000). In Dart, the Supreme Court considered the narrow issue of whether a defendant’s notice of removal must incorporate evidence supporting the alleged amount in controversy. After Dart removed the putative class action from a Kansas state court, the district court remanded the action to state court based on Tenth Circuit precedent which requires proof of the amount in controversy in the notice of removal itself. Id. at 3. Dart petitioned the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the remand decision, under 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(1) (governing the removal of class actions), which a divided panel denied. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded the decision, noting that the Tenth Circuit’s decision to deny review § 1453(c)(1) was an abuse of discretion, which “relied on the legally erroneous premise that the District Court’s decision was correct.” Id. at 9. Ultimately, both the district court’s remand and th Tenth Circuit’s denial of review turned on the question of what the notice of removal required for the amount in controversy. The Supreme Court emphasized that removal under § 1446(a) follows the “short and plain statement” standard, which Congress intended to simply pleading requirements for removal. Id. at 4-5. Furthermore, the Supreme Court clarified that § 1446(c)(2)(B), which references an evidentiary finding that the jurisdictional threshold is met, applies only in cases where the defendant’s asserted amount in controversy is challenged. As a result, federal-court jurisdiction may be invoked by a good faith amount-in-controversy allegation.