Kun v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Company et al

Filing 23

ORDER by Judge Samuel Conti denying 12 Amended Motion to Remand (sclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/20/2010)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA ALBERT M. KUN, on his own behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated, United States District Court 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ) ) ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) ) v. ) PAUL REVERE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY,) PAULA M. KRAGER, UNUM PROVIDENT ) CORPORATION, and DOES 1 to 50, ) inclusive, ) ) ) Defendants. ) I. INTRODUCTION Case No. 09-4414 SC ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED MOTION TO REMAND This matter comes before the Court on the Amended Motion to Remand ("Motion") filed by Plaintiff Albert M. Kun ("Plaintiff" or "Kun"). Docket No. 12. Defendants The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company and Unum Group ("Defendants") filed an Opposition and Plaintiff submitted a Reply. Docket Nos. 16, 17. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED. II. BACKGROUND On or about July 26, 1978, Plaintiff purchased a disability insurance policy from The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company. Kun 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 For the Northern District of California Decl. 3.1 On or about April 25, 2009, Plaintiff was involved in Id. an automobile accident resulting in multiple bone fractures. 7. On or about May 11, 2009, Plaintiff applied for benefits Id. under his insurance policy in the amount of $2000 per month. 8. According to Plaintiff, the claims adjuster told him that because he was over seventy years old, the benefits would be limited to a two-year period. Id. 9. On or around August 5, Notice of Removal, 2009, Unum sent Plaintiff a check for $333.33. Docket No. 1, Ex. A ("Compl.").2 On August 14, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, alleging causes of action against Defendants for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, restitution under California Business and Professions Code 17200 et seq., negligence, and violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"), California Civil Code 1750-1784. Defendants removed the action to this Court. Removal. See Compl. See Notice of United States District Court 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Plaintiff seeks to remand this action contending that Mot. at 1. the amount in controversy does not exceed $75,000. III. LEGAL STANDARD Any civil action brought in a state court may be removed to this Court where there is complete diversity of citizenship and Albert M. Kun is representing himself in this litigation, and he filed a declaration in support of his Motion to Remand. Docket No. 13. A copy of the Unum check is attached as Exhibit B to Plaintiff's Complaint. 2 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 For the Northern District of California where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 1332, 1441. 28 U.S.C. The Court strictly construes the removal statute against removal jurisdiction, and therefore the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Gaus v. "Normally, this burden is satisfied if the plaintiff claims a sum greater than the jurisdictional requirement." Id. (citing St. Paul Mercury Indem. "[W]hen a Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288-89 (1938). complaint filed in state court alleges on its face an amount in controversy sufficient to meet the federal jurisdictional threshold, such requirement is presumptively satisfied . . . ." Guglielmino v. McKee Foods Corp., 506 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 2007). If the state-court complaint is unclear, then the United States District Court 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 defendant must provide evidence establishing that it is more likely than not that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold. Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996). IV. DISCUSSION Plaintiff contends that the maximum amount of contract damages in this case is $24,000. Mot. at 2. However, the Court's review of the Complaint filed in state court, as well as the declaration filed in support of his Amended Motion to Remand, indicates that Kun is claiming an entitlement to disability benefits of $2000 per month for twenty-four months, which totals $48,000. See Compl. BC-2, FR-2; Kun Decl. 9. In his fourth cause of action, Plaintiff seeks restitution of all his premium 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 For the Northern District of California payments since 1978, which amounts to $39,710.28. Decl. 6. See Compl.; Kun Based on these claims alone, and without even considering Kun's other requests for relief, it is clear that Plaintiff is claiming a sum greater than the jurisdictional requirement of $75,000. Relying on Guglielmino, Plaintiff contends that the damages for each of his causes of action must be examined separately and cannot be added. Reply at 1. This contention is incorrect. See Guglielmino, 506 F.3d at 701 (affirming district court's determination that amount in controversy exceeded jurisdictional threshold based on combination of requested economic damages, attorneys' fees, and punitive damages). Since Plaintiff's United States District Court 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Complaint alleges an amount in controversy sufficient to meet the federal jurisdictional threshold, Defendants' decision to remove this case was not improper. V. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Remand. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 20, 2010 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 4

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