United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Carolyn LePage
(“LePage”) and Douglas Brayton's
“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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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. 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.,
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.
Diversity of Citizenship
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.