United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
STAN SCHIFF, M.D. PH.D, Plaintiff,
LIBERTY MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE CO., et al., Defendant.
ORDER ON MOTION FOR REMAND
J. PECHMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
above-entitled Court, having received and reviewed:
(1) Plaintiff's Motion for Remand (Dkt. No. 19);
(2) Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Motion for
Remand (Dkt. No. 42);
(3) Reply in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Remand
(Dkt. No. 39); all attached declarations and exhibits; and
all relevant portions of the record, rules as follows:
ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED. The Court remands this
matter to King County Superior Court.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall be awarded reasonable
attorney fees and costs; said fees and costs to be submitted
to the Court no later than 14 days from the entry of this
is a class action over reductions Defendants Liberty Mutual
Fire Insurance Company and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
(collectively, “Liberty Mutual”) have made to
bills from health care providers for services rendered to
accident victims covered by personal injury protection
policies (“PIP”). Plaintiff alleges Liberty
Mutual reduces bills for PIP coverage to the 80th percentile
of charges, regardless of whether the reductions are
reasonable or not. This lawsuit was filed in state court on
May 8, 2017, claiming that this practice violates state law
on PIP coverage requiring Liberty Mutual to provide coverage
for “all reasonable medical expenses” and also
violates the Washington Consumer Protection Act
14, 2017, Liberty Mutual removed Plaintiff's case to
federal court. Plaintiff seeks a remand to state court.
No federal jurisdiction
Mutual did not remove under the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”), which thus requires it to prove to a
“legal certainty” that federal jurisdiction
exists. Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th
Cir. 1996). Although Defendant asserts in its removal notice
that “federal question” and
“diversity” jurisdiction exist (see Dkt.
No. 1 at 14-17), it does not respond to Plaintiff's
argument or authority that, because the Complaint contains no
federal claim, federal jurisdiction does not exist. See
Evergreen Sch. Dist. v. N.F., 393 F.Supp.2d 1070 (W.D.
Mutual instead argues, without citation to authority, that it
can manufacture federal question jurisdiction by asserting a
future affirmative defense from a settlement in a separate
class action to which Plaintiff was not a party. The Court
rejects this attempted evasion of CAFA; federal jurisdiction
is determined at the time of removal, not by future events.
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