California  |  Consumer Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 8/08/13, 3:05 pm

To anyone who can help,

We have a case in Federal Court and the defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss saying that we can't prove our damages are over $75,000

In our Opposition to the Motion, what is the best way to convince the judge that our damages are over $75,000? I thought we didn't have to prove that at this stage of litigation? Isn't this for discovery?

Thanks to all who can help! I hope to 'pay it forward'

1 Answer

Answered on: 8/08/13, 3:52 pm by Timothy McCormick

Unlike state court, the Federal courts do not have jurisdiction over a civil case unless it raises an issue of federal law, or the amount in controversy is over $75,000.00 The court is completely powerless to hear the case if it is for less than that. The court cannot, therefore, let the case go forward if there is a dispute as to whether the court even has jurisdiction. Since you do not give any details of your pleadings or your case, I cannot even determine whether it is you or the defendants who have the initial burden of proving the amount in controversy is in excess of the jurisdictional minimum. Generally, if the plaintiff has demanded more than that in the complaint, the defendant has a burden of proving to a legal certainty that the amount really in issue is less than that. If the plaintiff has not made a clear and good faith request with supporting allegations for the amount to be over $75,000, however, then the burden falls to the plaintiff to prove that it is more likely than not that, if they win the case, their damages will exceed the jurisdictional amount. They don't have to prove they will win; only that if they win their damages more likely than not will be over $75,000.

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