MARCH 2014 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT GRANTS INSUREDS’ MOTION TO REMAND CASE WHERE NOTICE OF REMOVAL WAS UNTIMELY (Philadelphia Federal)
In Minissale v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., the insureds filed a claim for breach of contract and bad faith after water damaged the granite flooring of their home and their homeowner’s insurance carrier refused to pay. The insureds’ claim sought damages “in excess of $50,000 together with interest and costs and the cost of suit, counsel fees as permitted by law and grant such other relief as the Court may deem just and appropriate.”
The carrier removed the suit to federal court, but the insureds sought to remand. The insureds contend that the only evidence of damages at this point in time is their estimate for the cost to replace the floor for $55,315.00. Yet, the carrier argued that, in addition to compensatory damages, the insureds sought to recover damages for interest on the amount of the claim, punitive damages, and costs and attorney’s fees for bad faith. Defendant contends the sum total of damages could exceed $75,000. The court granted the insureds’ motion, finding that the notice of removal was untimely and Defendant had sufficient information the amount on controversy was met the date when the complaint was served.