MARCH 2009 BAD FAITH CASES BAD FAITH CASE REMANDED TO COUNTY COURT: AMOUNT SPECIFIED IN COMPLAINT DID NOT MEET AMOUNT IN CONTROVERSY REQUIREMENT (Philadelphia Federal)
In Bowman v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, the court remanded the case to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas because the amount in controversy stated in the complaint was not greater than $75,000, as required for diversity jurisdiction.
The insured filed in county court for breach of contract and bad faith in denying and handling his claim. The insurer removed the case to federal court under diversity jurisdiction and argued that the amount in controversy requirement could be met by a jury awarding the punitive damages being sought in the bad faith claim. The court disagreed, stating that the insurer offered only conjecture whereas the insured’s complaint specified he was seeking less than $50,000, including the punitive damages. The amount in controversy requirement was, therefore, not met and the case was remanded.