SIMMONS v. STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY
MEMORANDUM ORDER REMANDING THE CASE TO STATE COURT: It is HEREBY ORDERED that the case be remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Pennsylvania forthwith as more fully set forth in said order. Clerk is to mark CASE CLOSED. Signed by Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand on 6/4/2021. (jmm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY
MEMORANDUM ORDER REMANDING THE CASE TO STATE COURT
This case is an insurance dispute regarding Plaintiff William Simmons’ real property,
which is located in Pennsylvania. The case is pending before the Court pursuant to federal
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Plaintiff, a Pennsylvania resident, filed a complaint to initiate this action in the Court of
Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2019. ECF No. 1-2. At that time,
Plaintiff’s complaint contained four counts against the Illinois Defendant: (I) breach of contract;
(II) bad faith; (III) violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection
Law (UTCPTL); (IV) unjust enrichment. See generally, ECF No. 1-2. On December 16, 2019,
Defendant removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446, citing federal
diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1 at 1.
Defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint on December 23, 2019. ECF No. 5. On
January 15, 2020, Judge Nora Barry Fischer, who was presiding over the case at that time, ordered
Plaintiff to file an amended complaint and denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss as moot. ECF
No. 10 at 2. Plaintiff moved for remand to state court on January 16, 2020, ECF No. 11, and filed
the First Amended Complaint on January 29, 2020, ECF No. 14. The Court denied Plaintiff’s
motion to remand on February 5, 2020, finding that federal diversity jurisdiction existed at that
time because Plaintiff was a Pennsylvania citizen and Defendant was a citizen of Illinois and not
a citizen of Pennsylvania, and because “Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate to a legal certainty that
his breach of contract, bad faith insurance practices, UTPCPL and unjust enrichment claims do
not seek in excess of the jurisdictional amount of $75,000.” ECF No. 17 at 2–3.
Defendant moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint on February 12, 2020. ECF
No. 18. The Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint in part
and denied it in part, ECF No. 22, which prompted Plaintiff to file the Second Amended Complaint
on April 22, 2020, ECF No. 23. Defendant moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint on
May 6, 2020. ECF No. 24.
On October 16, 2020, the Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss the Second
Amended Complaint with respect to Counts II (bad faith insurance practices), III (UTPCPL
violation), and IV (unjust enrichment). ECF No. 42. The Second Amended Complaint is the
operative complaint, and the only remaining cause of action in the case is Plaintiff’s Count I for
breach of the insurance policy at issue.
The case was transferred to the undersigned on October 23, 2020. ECF No. 43. After the
parties completed fact discovery, they jointly filed a stipulation, ECF No. 71, that the amount in
controversy does not exceed $75,000.
Despite that federal subject matter jurisdiction existed at the time of removal, see ECF No.
17, since three of the Plaintiff’s four claims in this case have been dismissed, see ECF No. 42, and
the parties agree that the amount in controversy no longer exceeds $75,000, ECF No. 71, the basis
for the Court’s continuing jurisdiction over the dispute is supplemental jurisdiction. Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), a district court may decline to exercise supplemental claim if:
(1) The claim raises a novel of complex issue of State law,
(2) The claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims
over which the district court has original jurisdiction,
(3) The district court has dismissed all claims over which it has
original jurisdiction, or
(4) In exceptional circumstances, there are other compelling reasons
for declining jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(1)–(4). Where § 1367(c) permits courts to exercise discretion to decline
jurisdiction, courts also consider the values of judicial economy, fairness, and comity in deciding
whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over non-federal claims. Hartman v. CadmusCenveo Co., Civil Action No. 13-7494, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131517, at *10 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 19,
2014); see also, Whittaker v. CCIS N. of Phila., Civil Action No. 10-1095, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
40707 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 2010).
Here, the Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the claim in the Second Amended
Complaint because, at the time of removal, Defendant properly invoked federal diversity
jurisdiction. See ECF No. 17. However, the Court has discretion to remand the case under
§ 1367(c)(2) and (c)(3) because the Court has dismissed the claims that satisfied the federal subject
matter jurisdictional amount in controversy under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The only remaining claim is
a state-law breach of contract claim that does not satisfy the amount in controversy requirement
original federal diversity jurisdiction under § 1332. Given that the parties have stipulated to
remand, remand will afford Plaintiff the opportunity to litigate in its chosen forum, and remand
will permit a Pennsylvania court to adjudicate the issues of state law—the only issues that remain
in the case—the Court will exercise its discretion to remand the case to the Court of Common
Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Court declines to exercise supplement jurisdiction
over the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the case be remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of
Allegheny County Pennsylvania forthwith.
DATED this 4th day of June, 2021.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Christy Criswell Wiegand
CHRISTY CRISWELL WIEGAND
United States District Judge
cc (via ECF email notification):
All Counsel of Record
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