Monday, October 26, 2020

Case That Was Removed to Federal Court Is Remanded Back to State Court

 


In the case of Lin v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., No. 20-3876 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 24, 2020 Pappert, J.), the court addressed issues pertaining to removal of a case to Federal Court and remand of the same.

In this case, the court ruled that, in a UIM case in which the Plaintiff alleged herniations and submitted a demand of a $124,500.00, was a case that was removable immediately such that the carrier should not have waited for an Amended Complaint that included punitive damages and bad faith claims, before removing the case. 

The issue before the court was a Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand the case under an argument that the initial removal was untimely under 28 U.S.C. §1446(b), given that the carrier filed its removal notice more than thirty (30) days after it received the Plaintiff’s initial Complaint. 

The carrier had contended that removal was timely because it could not ascertain that the value of the Plaintiff’s claims exceeded the $75,000.00 jurisdiction limit until the Plaintiff had filed its Amended Complaint.

In the end, the court granted the Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand the case to state court. The court noted that the Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint contained the same facts and allegations but added allegations of bad faith. 

The court noted the rules of removal that require a Defendant to file a Notice of Removal within thirty (30) days of receiving the initial pleading setting for the claims in a civil action. 

Where an initial pleading does not state a removable case, a Defendant may file for removal within thirty (30) days of receiving an amended pleading, motion, order, or other paper from which it may be first ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removal. 

Generally speaking, the thirty (30) day period for removal begins to run when a Defendant can reasonably and intelligently conclude from the pleadings or other papers that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional minimum. 

Here, the court held that the carrier could have reasonably and intelligently concluded that the amount of the controversy exceeded $75,000.00 from a review of the initial Complaint filed by the Plaintiff based upon the nature of the injuries alleged. In that regard, the court noted that the original Complaint asserted that the Plaintiff had sustained cervical disc herniations at multiple levels. The court felt that the alleged injuries, taken together, with injury allegations found in other decisions that have allowed the removal based upon a finding that the injuries alleged could satisfy the amount controversy for diversity jurisdiction, supported the conclusion that the Defendant had the opportunity to remove the case sooner and failed to do so. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Michael J. Lyon of the Lansdale, Pennsylvania office of Walsh Pancio, LLC for bringing this case to my attention. 

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