JULY 2009 BAD FAITH CASES INSURED’S MOTION TO REMAND BAD FAITH CLAIM DENIED – CITIZENSHIP OF FRAUDULENTLY JOINED PARTIES MUST BE DISREGARDED (Middle District)
In Becker v. Farmington Casualty Company, Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action in state court to determine Defendant insurer’s duty to defend and indemnify, and also raised claims for breach of contract and bad faith. Defendant insurer removed the case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff filed a motion to remand contending that two other Defendants were non-diverse parties. Defendant insurer argued that the two Defendants were fraudulently joined and, therefore, their citizenship must be ignored when evaluating diversity jurisdiction.
The Court found that the two Defendants were fraudulently joined because there were no claims brought against them in the action; all the claims asserted in the Complaint were against Defendant insurer. The Court ruled that the two Defendants were fraudulently joined and their citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction must be disregarded. Consequently, the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion to remand.
Date of Decision: June 25, 2009
Becker v. Farmington Cas. Co., U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 1:08-cv-2228, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53967 (M.D.Pa. June 25, 2009) (Conner, J.)