Monday, March 19, 2007

N.D. Ill.: Only Attorneys’ Fees Incurred at the Time Jurisdiction is Invoked May Count for Requisite Amount in Controversy for Diversity Jurisdiction

Per Atteberry v. Esurance Ins. Services, Inc., --- F.Supp.2d ----, 2007 WL 431729 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 09, 2007):

Esurance is wrong in having included an assumed amount of attorney fees in excess of $15,000 to push Atteberry's wrongly assumed $60,000 claim over the jurisdictional floor applicable to diversity actions. That second assumption ignores the principle announced by our Court of Appeals in Gardynski-Leschuk v. Ford Motor Co., 142 F.3d 955, 958 (7 Cir.1998) that only fees already incurred at the time that federal jurisdiction is invoked, not anticipated fees, may be counted toward the requisite amount in controversy. Although Judge Easterbrook's discussion for the panel in Gardynski-Leschuk provides a thoughtful elaboration on that principle, it is summarized succinctly in this single sentence ( id.):

Yet jurisdiction depends on the state of affairs when the case begins; what happens later is irrelevant.


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