FEBRUARY 2012 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT ALLOWS INSURED TO AMEND BAD FAITH COMPLAINT IN ORDER TO PLEAD THE EXISTENCE OF DIVERSITY JURISDICTION (Middle District)
An insured brought suit against her carrier for breach of contract and bad faith in its handling of the insured’s underinsured motorist claim. However, the insured did not allege the court’s basis for jurisdiction over her claims. Additionally, the complaint did not allege claims pursuant to federal law that would independently confer jurisdiction, so the court found her to be in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires a statement of the court’s subject matter jurisdiction.
First, the court addressed the insured’s domicile. To be domiciled in a state, a person must reside there and intend to remain indefinitely. However, the complaint only alleged that the insured “resides” in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, failing to address any evidence of domicile. As such, the court held that the insured’s citizenship was improperly pled for the purposes of diversity jurisdiction.
Second, the court addressed the carrier’s state of citizenship. The insured only alleged the location of the carrier’s headquarters, which is irrelevant to diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff did not plead the carrier’s place of incorporation or its principal place of business (“nerve cener”). The court held that the insured also failed to sufficiently plead the citizenship of the carrier for the purposes of diversity jurisdiction.
However, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1653, the court provided the insured twenty-one days to amend her complaint, or face dismissal.