Questions on the Jurisdictional Minimum

1. Can a plaintiff simply meet the $75,000.01 minimum for diversity by asking for $75,000.01 in his complaint, or does more need to be shown? What if he actually recovers far less than $75,000.01?

2. In determining the amount in controversy, may the court look beyond the pleadings themselves, to the evidence at the time of the initiation of the suit?

3. P (NY) brings an action against D (NJ) in NY state court for loss of his hand in a car accident P asks for $70k. That does not necessarily mean that the defendant cannot remove. Why not? What is the standard that the defendant must satisfy to remove the claim? Is it the same as the standard for the plaintiff suing in federal court? Is there any reason it should be different?

4. P (NY) is suing D (NJ) in federal court asking (under state nuisance law) for an injunction against D to get D to shut down his smelly taxidermy service. How do you determine whether this is a diversity case? Would your answer be the same if P's suit were brought in state court and D had remove?

5. Can you aggregate the same plaintiff's claims against the same defendant to meet the jurisdictional minimum? Does it matter whether the claims are unrelated or not? Can you aggregate different plaintiffs' claims against the same defendant to meet the jurisdictional minimum? Does it matter whether the claims are unrelated or not? Can you aggregate the same plaintiff's claims against different defendants to meet the jurisdictional minimum? Does it matter whether the claims are unrelated or not? Is the law reasonable here?

Consider the following:

a) P (NY) brings $50,000 breach of contract claim together with an unrelated $50,000 battery claim against D (NJ). Diversity case?

b) P and D had an agreement for P to do work for D for $50,000. P does the work but D doesn't pay. In P's (NY) complaint against D (NJ), P asks for $50,000 under a theory of breach of contract. Alternatively - if it is found that there is no contract - he asks for $40,000 in quantuum meruit (equitable action - the fair market value of the labor he performed).  Diversity case?

c) P1 (NY) and P2 (NY) join to bring battery actions against D (NJ) concerning a brawl in which all three were involved. Each asks for $50,000 in damages. Diversity case?

6. Consider the following scenario: Someone has died. The two children of the decedent (P1 and P2) are the distributees of his estate -- that is, they have a right to inherit. P1 and P2 bring an action against the executor of the estate (D), who, they allege, has absconded with $80,000. $40,000 of that should go to P1 and $40,000 to P2. Under an exception to the nonaggregation rule, announced in Shields v Thomas, 58 U.S. (17 How.) 3 (1855), P1 and P2 may aggregate their claims against D to meet the jurisdictional minimum.  What is unusual about their claims against D that would make aggregation possible here?

7. P1 and P2 are suing D. (P1 and P2 each have property adjoining D's.) P1 and P2 ask the court to enjoin D from polluting their property by shutting down his rendering plant. Assume that the cost to D in lost revenue if he shuts down the plant is $140,000. The value to P1 and P2 of the injunction is $70,000 each. Is the amount in controversy satisfied for diversity?