Luna v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

Filing 35

ORDER that ECF No. 33 Motion to Remand is DENIED. IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Robert C. Jones on 01/04/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - KW)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ______________________________________ ) ) JOSE R. LUNA, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) vs. ) ) STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE ) INSURANCE CO., ) ) Defendant. ) ) 2:15-cv-01104-RCJ-NJK ORDER This case arises out of an insurer’s alleged breach of an underinsured motorist policy. 13 14 Pending before the Court is a motion to remand. 15 I. 16 FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY On or about October 13, 2011, Plaintiff Jose R. Luna was involved in an automobile 17 collision with a non-party in Las Vegas, Nevada, causing Plaintiff injury, pain, suffering, and 18 loss of earning capacity. (See Compl. ¶¶ 1, 7–12, ECF No. 1-1). Plaintiff had incurred medical 19 expenses of $60,378.15 at the time he filed the Complaint and expected to incur more medical 20 expenses in the future. (See id. ¶ 16). At the time of the collision, Plaintiff was insured by 21 Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. under Policy No. 047 2348-B07-28B 22 (the “Policy”). (Id. ¶ 14). The Policy included an uninsured/underinsured motorist provision (the 23 “UIM Provision”) for $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence, but Defendant rejected 24 1 of 3 1 Plaintiff’s demand to pay the $25,000 policy limits under the UIM Provision, offering only 2 $7,800. (Id. ¶¶ 15, 17–20). Plaintiff sued Defendant in state court for: (1) breach of contract; (2) contractual breach 3 4 of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) tortious breach of the implied 5 covenant of good faith and fair dealing (“insurance bad faith”); (4) unfair claims practices under 6 Nevada Revised Statutes section (“NRS”) 686A.310; (5) declaratory relief; and (6) punitive 7 damages. Defendant removed and moved for summary judgment against all claims but the first. 8 The Court granted the motion as against the claims for contractual breach of the implied 9 covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unfair claims practices under NRS 686A.310(b), and 10 declaratory judgment. The Court denied the motion as against the claims for insurance bad faith, 11 unfair claims practices under NRS 686A.310(e), and punitive damages. The Court indicated that 12 it would be inclined to reconsider as against those claims if Defendant could provide unrebutted 13 evidence of its claim that Plaintiff’s medical providers had forgiven the $41,097.86 of Plaintiff’s 14 medical bills that worker’s compensation did not cover, but Defendant had attached no such 15 evidence to the motion. Defendant later adduced such evidence via a motion to reconsider, and 16 the Court granted the motion, leaving only the breach of contract claim for trial. Plaintiff has 17 asked the Court to remand. 18 II. DISCUSSION 19 Plaintiff argues that the Court has lost diversity jurisdiction, because the remaining 20 breach of contract claim does not satisfy the amount in controversy requirement under 28 U.S.C. 21 § 1332(a). The argument is contrary to binding authority. “Jurisdiction on diversity grounds 22 existing at the commencement of an action is not divested by a subsequent reduction of the 23 amount in controversy below the jurisdictional minimum.” Ne. Clackamas Cnty. Elec. Coop. v. 24 Cont’l Cas. Co., 221 F.2d 329, 332 (9th Cir. 1955) (citing St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red 2 of 3 1 Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283 (1938)). “Events occurring subsequent to the institution of suit which 2 reduce the amount recoverable below the statutory limit do not oust jurisdiction.” St. Paul 3 Mercury Indem. Co., 303 U.S. at 289–90. 4 CONCLUSION 5 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion to Remand (ECF No. 33) is DENIED. 6 IT IS SO ORDERED. 7 Dated this 27th4, 2017. January day of December, 2016. 8 9 _____________________________________ ROBERT C. JONES United States District Judge 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 3 of 3

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