United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND TO STATE
J. BRYAN, United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion
to Remand Case to State Court. Dkt. 10. The Court has
reviewed the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the
filed on October 5, 2017, in Pierce County, Washington
Superior Court, this case asserts claims against Defendant
Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”) arising
from injuries sustained by its insured in a car accident
involving another motorist, who fled the scene. Dkt. 1-1. On
October 26, 2017, Allstate removed the case to this Court
based on the diversity of the parties' citizenship and
the amount in controversy, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Dkt. 1. Plaintiff now moves to remand the case, asserting
that the amount in controversy is less than $75, 000, and
moves for an award of attorney's fees. Dkt. 10. For the
reasons provided below, the motion to remand (Dkt. 10) should
be granted, the case remanded to Pierce County, Washington
Superior Court, and the motion for attorney's fees (Dkt.
10) should be denied.
to the Complaint, at the relevant time, Plaintiff was an
insured driver under a policy issued by Allstate, which
included benefits for injuries resulting from an accident
with an uninsured/underinsured (“UIM”) motorist.
Dkt. 1-1, at 3. The Complaint asserts that the policy
provides a $25, 000 limit per person for UIM bodily injury
and a limit of $10, 000 in Personal Injury Protection
(“PIP”) medical benefits. Id.
was injured in a head-on collision. Dkt. 1-1, at 4. The other
driver fled the scene, and the police were unable to locate
the driver. Id. As a result of the accident,
Plaintiff's health care providers diagnosed him with:
“cervical strain, thoracic myofascial strain, acute
non-tractable tension type headache, lumbar stain, and left
little finger pain with hyperextension.” Id.
He asserts that his medical expenses are in excess of $9,
000. Id. Plaintiff maintains that after submitting
his medical bills to Allstate, it has only paid $2, 025.22 of
alleges that on June 20, 2017, he made “a written
demand to Allstate for payment of his $25, 000 UIM policy
limits for his economic and non-economic damages for pain and
suffering and emotional distress.” Dkt. 1-1, at 7. He
asserts that Allstate has not made any payments as required
under the terms of the UIM provisions in his policy.
makes claims for breach of contract, and for violation of
Washington's Insurance Fair Conduct Act
(“IFCA”), 48.30, et. seq., and the
Washington Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”),
19.86, et. seq. Dkt. 1-1. He seeks damages,
including treble damages, costs, and attorney's fees.
now moves to remand the case. Dkt. 10. He argues that while
the parties agree they are completely diverse in their
citizenship, the $75, 000 in controversy amount (as required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (a)) is not met. Id. In
support of Plaintiff's assertion, Plaintiff's lawyer
Shortly after filing this lawsuit in Pierce County Superior
Court, [he] personally made contact with Defendant's
attorney and advised him that this case involved Uninsured
Motorist claim with policy limits of $25, 000. [He] further
advised him that [he] planned on putting the case into Pierce
County's Mandatory Arbitration (“PCLMAR”)
system. PCLMAR 1.1 (a) provides a simplified and economical
procedure for obtaining prompt and equitable resolution of
disputes involving claims of $50, 000 or
Dkt. 11, at 2 (emphasis in original).
Plaintiff's lawyer contends that he told Allstate's
lawyer that he “planned on seeking no more than $50,
000.” Id. Plaintiff also moves for an award of
attorney's fees and costs incurred in filing the motion
for remand. Dkt. 10.
opposes the motion and argues that Plaintiff's complaint
seeks: (1) UIM benefits of $25, 000, (2) $6, 7974.78 in PIP
benefits (Plaintiff claims at least $9, 000 in medical bills
and asserts that Allstate has paid only $2, 025.22 or that);
and (3) treble damages. Dkt. 12. It asserts that if Plaintiff
seeks to treble only the UIM benefits, his claimed damages
total at least $81, 974.78. Id. Accordingly, it
asserts that it had a good faith belief that the amount in
controversy was at least $75, 000. Id. Allstate
further points to Plaintiff's June 20, 2017 demand
letter. Id. In that letter, Plaintiff makes claims
for $4, 021.44 in medical bills and $5, 155.85 in lost wages
(for the work Plaintiff missed due to the accident). Dkt. 13,
at 9-10. The letter states that Plaintiff is making
a “UIM demand of $35, 000 for settlement of his
physical injuries, medical treatment, pain, suffering, future
medical treatments, future pain and suffering, and loss and
enjoyment of life.” Id. Plaintiff filed a
reply (Dkt. 14) and the motion is ripe for decision.