U.S. District Judge Noelle Collins has remanded a personal injury case against Family Dollar Stores to St. Louis County Circuit Court.
Finding that the defendant had failed to establish that the damages amount exceeds $75,000, Collins entered an order Nov. 1 that also denied plaintiff Darrell Macon's motion for attorney fees on remand.
Macon sued the company on April 22, 2016, claiming negligence and willful, wanton and malicious failure to act on an assault incident that took place a month earlier at a store located in Jennings, according to court documents.
Macon was shopping at the store when he was assaulted by two unknown assailants, and as a result, he lost consciousness, suffered a broken rib, head injury and bruises and contusions, his lawsuit said.
He claims the store was negligent in not contacting the police in a more prompt manner. He further claims that the store was or should have been on notice of a duty to protect him "as the store was in a 'known ... low income, high crime area,' " the order states.
Police had responded to the store at least 87 times in the preceding 11 months, according to the order. He also alleges that the store has a panic button that can instantly alert police to problems at its location.
Family Dollar's motion to dismiss the failure-to-act claim was granted, and in the court's dismissal order it directed the defendant to show cause why the case should not be remanded for want of subject matter jurisdiction.
In its response, Family Dollar argued that the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000, giving the federal court proper jurisdiction.
However, Collins was not convinced, holding that it failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
In denying Macon's motion for attorney fees, Collins wrote that Family Dollar had an objectively reasonable basis for removing this case to federal court and that Macon, among other things, failed to provide any evidence in support of his request for fees.