NOVEMBER 2007 BAD FAITH CASES
CARRIER PERMITTED TO REMOVE CASE WHERE CONTRACT AND BAD FAITH CLAIMS COULD BE AGGREGATED ON DAMAGES; AND PLAINTIFF HAD DEMANDED $200,000 TO SETTLE (Middle District)

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The plaintiff filed a motion to remand after the matter was removed from the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County.  The court found that a plaintiff’s separate claims can be aggregated for purposes of determining the jurisdictional minimum if the claims seek distinct, and not duplicative, damages.  In cases where there are insurance breach of contract and insurance bad faith claims, such aggregation is permitted.  Each count, pleaded separately, asked for in excess of $50,000, thus totaling $100,000; an amount in excess of the $75,000 statutory minimum.

In addition, “when a complaint does not limit its request to a precise monetary amount, [the court] may make an independent appraisal of the value of the rights being litigated in order to determine whether the amount in controversy is satisfied.”  This includes considering settlement demands.  In that case there had been a settlement demand by plaintiff of $200,000.  Based on both these grounds, the defendant had met its burden to establish federal jurisdiction and the motion to remand was denied.

Date of Decision:  June 14, 2007

Ketz v. Progressive Northern Ins. Co., No. 07-731, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43245 (M.D. Pa. June 14, 2007) (Munley, J.)

L.A.

 

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CARRIER PERMITTED TO REMOVE CASE WHERE CONTRACT AND BAD FAITH CLAIMS COULD BE AGGREGATED ON DAMAGES; AND PLAINTIFF HAD DEMANDED $200,000 TO SETTLE (Middle District)”


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