United States District Court, E.D. Washington
CHRISTOPHER W. MALPASS, an individual, Plaintiff,
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR REMAND
STANLEY A. BASTIAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiffs Motion to Remand, ECF No. 5. A
hearing on the motion was held on October 12, 2017. Plaintiff
was represented by John M. Randolph. Defendant was
represented by Laura Hawes Young.
was a passenger in a car accident in which he sustained
serious injuries. The driver of the car had an insurance
limit of $25, 000. Plaintiff settled with the driver's
insurance company. The driver of the car that hit them and
was subsequently determined to be the most at fault did not
have insurance. Plaintiff sought uninsured motorist benefits
from his own insurance company, Defendant State Farm
Automobile Insurance Company. It denied the claim, believing
that the value of Plaintiff s claim was covered by the amount
of the settlement he received.
sued Defendant in Spokane County Superior Court, alleging a
breach of contract claim and a bad faith claim. Defendant
removed this action to the Eastern District of Washington,
citing diversity jurisdiction. Defendant is incorporated in
Illinois and its principal place of business is Illinois.
Although the amount of damages is not specified in the
Complaint, Plaintiff is alleging general and special damages,
treble damages, and attorneys fees. He alleges he has
suffered serious injuries including broken bones, permanent
scaring and permanent damage to the range of motion in his
March, 2017, Plaintiffs counsel sent a letter to Defendant
indicating his willingness to settle with Defendant for $105,
000. ECF No. 10, Ex. A. A second letter was sent in May,
2017, reiterating a demand for $105, 000. ECF No. 10, Ex. B.
In his reply to the Motion to Remand, Plaintiff indicated
that he was willing to accept $74, 999 to resolve all claims
including attorneys' fees and extra contractual claims.
ECF No. 8-3.
U.S.C. § 1441(a) permits a party to a civil action that
is brought in state court to remove the action to federal
court if the district court would have had original
jurisdiction at the time of both commencement of the action
U.S.C. § 1332(a) provides that a district court shall
have original jurisdiction over all civil actions where: (1)
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,
000, exclusive of interests and costs, and (2) the matter is
between citizens of different states. Where it is not
facially evident from the complaint that more than $75, 000
is in controversy, the removing party must prove, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy
meets the jurisdictional threshold. Matheson v.
Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th
Cir. 2003). Where doubt regarding the right to removal
exists, a case should be remanded to state court.
Id. The Court can consider facts presented in the
removal petitions as well as any "summary-judgment-type
evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of
removal." Id. Conclusory allegations as to the
amount in controversy are insufficient.
(c) provides that in the case of any direct action against
the insurer of a policy or contract of liability insurance,
whether incorporate or unincorporated, to which action the
insured is not joined as a party-defendant, such insurer
shall be deemed a citizen of-
(A) every State and foreign state of which the insured is a
(B) every State and foreign state by which the insurer has
been incorporated; and
(C) the State or foreign state where the insurer has its