Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

LePage v. The Hartford Property & Casualty Insurance

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

July 2, 2019

CAROLYN LEPAGE and DOUGLAS BRAYTON, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE HARTFORD PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE, an insurance company; and STEWART TITLE GUARANTEE COMPANY, an insurance company, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Carolyn LePage (“LePage”) and Douglas Brayton's (“Brayton”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) motion to remand. Dkt. 4. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby denies the motion for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 13, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendants the Hartford Property & Casualty Insurance Company (“Hartford”) and Stewart Title Guarantee Company (“Stewart”) (collectively “Defendants”). Dkt. 1-2.[1]Plaintiffs alleged a variety of claims including breach of the duty to defend, bad faith, violation of Washington's Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”), RCW Chapter 19.86, violation of Washington's Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”), RCW Chapter 48.30, and negligence. Dkt. 1-2, ¶¶ 1.11. The complaint stated that “[d]amages against the insurers are anticipated to be less than $75, 000 at this time.” Dkt. 1-2, ¶ 2.1.

         On May 3, 2019, Hartford filed a notice of removal in this Court. Dkt. 1. On May 10, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand. Dkt. 4. On June 3, 2019, Hartford responded. Dkt. 12. On June 7, 2019, Plaintiffs replied. Dkt. 14.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         LePage and Brayton “are in a long term committed personal relationship” and live at 1002 East St. Andrew Drive in Shelton, Washington. Dkt. 1-2, ¶ 1.1. On July 13, 2018, “a lawsuit was filed against LePage and Brayton.” Dkt. 1-2, ¶ 1.4. Hartford identifies the underlying matter as Larry J. Smith et al. v. Carolyn LePage et al., No. 18-2-0438-23, filed in the Superior Court of Washington for Mason County. Hartford explains that the claims deal with a dispute over property boundaries and harm to mature trees near the boundary between Plaintiffs' property and that of another couple, the Smiths, the plaintiffs in the underlying action. Dkt. 1 at 2. Hartford explains that the Smiths “claim damage to their property and hired experts-a forensic arborist and a real estate appraiser-to value the damage to their landscaping and trees, and the alleged diminution in real property value, ” and sought treble damages, attorney fees, and costs. Dkt. 1 at 2-3.

         LePage and Brayton tendered defense and indemnity in the underlying action to Hartford, LePage's homeowners insurance provider, and Stewart, the title insurer. Dkt. 1-2, ¶¶ 1.5-1.12.[2] Hartford agreed to defend LePage but not Brayton. Id. ¶ 1.7; Dkt. 1 at 3. Stewart did not agree to defend either LePage or Brayton. Id., ¶ 1.11.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Diversity Jurisdiction

         District courts have federal question jurisdiction over all claims “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. District courts have diversity jurisdiction when the parties are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).

         1. Diversity of Citizenship

         “Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity between the parties-each defendant must be a citizen of a different state from each plaintiff.” In re Digimarc Corp. Derivative Litig., 549 F.3d 1223, 1234 (9th Cir. 2008). “A corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of the state where it has its principal place of business.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c). Diversity of citizenship is not in controversy-Plaintiffs are citizens of Washington State, Dkt. 1-2, Hartford is a citizen of Indiana and Connecticut, and Stewart is a citizen of Texas. Dkt. 1, ¶ 9. Therefore, there is complete diversity among the parties.

         2. Amount ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.