ORLANDO — The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has denied a motion to remand a lawsuit involving defective tires back to state court.
Judge Gregory A. Presnell agreed with the defendants, American Tire Distributors, Hercules Tire Holding and Coastal Tires, that the case should be heard in federal court. The plaintiff, Albert J. Ostrowski, argued among other defects that the motion to move to federal court was untimely. Presnell threw that claim out, noting that the defendant had 30 days to make such an application, which the company met by filing in five days.
The case stems from a 2016 action Ostrowski filed in a Florida state court alleging that he suffered injuries as a result of defective tires. Ostrowski claims the tread separation on a Hercules H-202 tire caused him to crash his vehicle. Ostowski claimed American Tire Distributors and the makers of the tire, Hercules Tire Holding, are liable under strict product liability standards.
The defendants then moved to have the case sent to the federal court on diversity grounds. Ostowski appealed and asked the case to be remanded back to state court.
Presnell said in the ruling that in order to invoke a federal court’s diversity jurisdiction, a plaintiff must show that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and that all parties to the action must be completely diverse. The diversity clause generally is interpreted to mean that the parties are residents or incorporated in in different states or jurisdictions.
The judge also ruled that because Ostrowski suffered bodily injury it is possible that his claims may exceed $75,000, thus meeting the threshold for removing to federal court.
Presnell denied the remand and ordered the case to move forward in federal court.