Customer suing Fresh Market after fall denied motion to remand case back to state court

By Marian Johns | May 8, 2019

MIAMI — A Plantation woman who filed a complaint after falling at a Fresh Market store has been denied her motion to remand the case back to state court.

According to an April 17 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida filing, Inderia Shields filed a motion to remand her case against Fresh Market, Inc.

The case involves a fall that Shields suffered while shopping at a Fresh Market in Plantation in May 2016. She sought damages of more than $15,000 in a complaint filed in February in Broward County Circuit Court. Fresh Market then filed a notice of removal a month later, alleging the court's jurisdiction was "proper" due to "the parties' citizenship" being diverse and due to the jurisdictional amount. 

Shields argues that Fresh Market did not "meet the requisite jurisdictional requirements for diversity jurisdiction" and that Fresh Market did not prove her citizenship or the amount "in controversy" exceeds $75,000. Shields also argues that Fresh Market is a "Delaware corporation with its principle place of business in North Carolina." 

Fresh Market argues Shields' records, including medical, traffic citations, bankruptcy and her Florida driver's license, all prove she is a citizen of Florida "for the purposes of diversity." Fresh Market also says Shields' pre-suit request of $1 million along with more than $300,000 in medical expenses satisfy the jurisdictional amount. 

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom agreed with the defendant, staing Fresh Market "met its burden to prove diversity of citizenship exists between the parties." Bloom also concluded that through the evidence of Shields' medical records and her "demand letter," Fresh Market had shown the amount exceeds "the jurisdictional requirement at the time of the filing complaint."

The court ruled that, according to U.S. Code, the court does have proper subject matter jurisdiction and denied Shields' motion for remand. 

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