United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR REMAND
J. BRYAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion
for Remand to State Court. Dkt. 13. The Court has considered
the pleadings filed regarding the motion and the remaining
filed in Pacific County, Washington Superior Court, this case
asserts claims against Defendant USAA Casualty Insurance
Company (“USAA”) arising from injuries sustained
by its insured in a car accident with an uninsured motorist.
Dkt. 1-6. USAA 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(a). Dkt. 1.
The Plaintiff now moves to remand the case, asserting that
USAA has failed to show that the amount in controversy is
more than $75, 000. Dkt. 13. For the reasons provided below,
the motion to remand (Dkt. 13) should be granted.
to the Complaint, at the relevant time, Plaintiff was an
insured driver under a policy issued by USAA, which included
benefits for personal injuries sustained in an accident with
an uninsured motorist. Dkt. 1-6. The policy included personal
injury protection (“PIP”) benefits. Id.
The Complaint asserts that while USAA has paid some of the
medical expenses it was obligated to pay, it has not paid $4,
100 in medical expenses that it should pay under the
policy's PIP benefits. Dkt. 1-6, at 7. The Plaintiff
makes Washington state law claims for insurance bad faith,
breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, violation of
the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, RCW 48.30, et. seq.,
(“IFCA”), violation of the Consumer Protection
Act, RCW 19.86, et. seq. (“CPA”), and
negligence. Id., at 8-10. The Plaintiff seeks
damages, including treble damages under the CPA,
attorneys' fees, and costs. Id., at 10.
notice of removal states that on July 1, 2019, the Plaintiff
served her responses to USAA's First Requests for
Admission. Dkt. 1. The first request for admission provided:
“Admit that the damages YOU claim in YOUR COMPLAINT
against USAA CIC in this action inclusive of any
attorney's fees, economic damages, non-economic damages,
statutory damages, or otherwise, do not exceed $75,
000.01?” Dkt. 1-1, at 4 (emphasis in
original). The Plaintiff responded “deny.”
Id. USAA removed the case on July 10, 2019. Dkt. 1.
Plaintiff moves to remand the case. Dkt. 13. She argues that,
while the parties 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. The
Plaintiff seeks attorneys' fees and costs incurred in
filing the motion to remand. Id. USAA opposes the
motion. Dkt. 17. In her reply, the Plaintiff states that she
provided her Initial Disclosures to USAA on August 30, 2019,
which was the date USAA filed its response. Dkt. 21, at 1, n.
1. She maintains that “[t]hese disclosed less than
$5000.00 in unpaid PIP benefits at issue in this
matter.” Id. The motion is ripe for review.
of a case from a state court to a United States District
Court is governed by the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§
1441 and 1446. Section 1441 provides, in relevant part, as
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or defendants,
to the district court of the United States for the district
and division embracing the place where such action is
pending. . .
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). USAA asserts that this court has
original jurisdiction in this case under § 1332 (a)
because of the diversity of the parties' citizenship and
the amount in controversy. Dkt. 1. Section 1332 (a) provides
that diversity jurisdiction exists only “where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interests and costs.” 28 U.S.C. §
1332 (a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (c)(2),
If removal of a civil action is sought on the basis of the
jurisdiction conferred by section 1332 (a), the sum demanded
in good faith in the initial pleading shall be deemed to be
the amount in controversy, except that -
(A) the notice of removal may assert the amount in
controversy if the ...