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Jurin v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Francisco Division

September 3, 2014

GREGORY L. JURIN, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [ECF No. 17]

LAUREL BEELER, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This case is one of two related actions seeking a determination as to Gregory Jurin's entitlement to long-term care benefits under a policy issued by Transamerica Life Insurance Company. On April 23, 2014, Transamerica filed suit in this court against Jurin and James P. McCrea alleging fraud and conspiracy and seeking declaratory relief. See Complaint, Transamerica Life Ins. Co. v. Jurin, No. C 14-01881 LB, ECF No. 1. On May 27, 2014, Jurin filed a separate suit against Transamerica and Dr. Mohinder Nijjar in Alameda County Superior Court for claims arising out of the same insurance policy. See Complaint, ECF No. 1-2. Transamerica removed the state court action to this court asserting diversity jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. Now before the court is Plaintiff's amended motion to remand. Motion to Remand, ECF No. 17. The court finds this matter suitable for determination without a hearing under Civil Local Rule 7-1(b) and GRANTS Plaintiff's motion.

STATEMENT

I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

In November 1996, Jurin applied for long-term care insurance from Transamerica. Complaint, ECF No. 1, ¶ 6. Transamerica issued a policy to Jurin (the "Policy"), effective December 28, 1996, which provides various types of benefits including Nursing/Residential Care Facility benefits and Home Care benefits, including a Personal Care benefit. Id. ¶ 7. Jurin alleges that he "has required constant assistance from a caregiver" since his involvement in a car accident in November 2003. Id. ¶ 11. In late 2004, Jurin submitted a claim for Personal Care benefits under the Policy and began receiving payments from Transamerica. To receive benefits Jurin was required to undergo an initial assessment by a nurse care coordinator, as well as reassessments every six months. Id. ¶ 12. Jurin alleges that Transamerica "surreptitiously surveilled" him in January and February 2012 in an effort to terminate his personal care benefits and rescind the Policy. Id. ¶ 13.

In October 2013, Transamerica "demanded that [he] submit to a medical examination" by Dr. Nijjar. Id. ¶ 14. Jurin alleges that Dr. Nijjar "performed many intrusive and uncessary physical procedures" on him, including palpating his lower back. Id. ¶ 15. Despite Jurin's demands that Dr. Nijjar "stop at once" due to the "significant pain" the palpations caused, Dr. Nijjar allegedly continued the palpations "with even more force, pounding [his] back, causing injury, pain, unwanted touching, and emotional distress and anxiety." Id. Jurin alleges that Dr. Nijjar's pounding "did not have as its purpose to facilitate conducting a proper examination" but rather "was designed to inflict bodily injury." Id. Following the examination, Dr. Nijjar prepared a written report in which he concluded that Jurin was unable to perform the activities of daily living without a caregiver and recommended that Transamerica continue Jurin's benefits under the Policy. Id. ¶ 16.

Jurin alleges that Transamerica continued its surveillance of him "with the hope that it could convince Dr. Nijjar to alter his opinion and thus terminate" Jurin's coverage. Id. ¶ 17. After obtaining video footage that it allegedly "knew did not accurately portray [Jurin's] functional abilities on any reasonably consistent basis, " Transamerica presented the footage to Dr. Nijjar and "demanded that [he] revise his opinion based upon it." Id. Dr. Nijjar then "issued a supplemental report reversing the conclusions he previously formed after personally and physically examining Plaintiff." Id. In a letter dated April 8, 2014, Transamerica informed Jurin that he was no longer entitled to any benefits under the policy.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 23, 2014, Transamerica sued Jurin and James McCrea in this court alleging fraud and conspiracy to defraud and seeking declaratory judgment that Jurin is not entitled to additional benefits under the Policy. See Transamerica Life Ins. Co. v. Jurin, No. C 14-01881 LB, ECF No. 1. On May 27, 2014, Jurin brought suit against Transamerica and Dr. Nijjar in Alameda County Superior Court. See Complaint, ECF No. 1-2. Jurin's Complaint alleges causes of action for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against Transamerica, Complaint, ECF No. 1-2, ¶¶ 26-35, and a separate cause of action for battery against Dr. Nijjar, id. ¶¶ 26-40. Transamerica removed the action to this court and answered the Complaint. See Notice of Removal, ECF No.1; Answer, ECF No. 5. Dr. Nijjar moves to dismiss the claim against him. Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 10, and Jurin moves to remand the action to Superior Court, ECF No. 17.

ANALYSIS

I. THE COURT DOES NOT HAVE SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION OVER JURIN'S COMPLAINT

A. Legal Standard

Under the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), "any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant" to federal court. There are two varieties of original jurisdiction: (1) federal question jurisdiction in "all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States, " 28 U.S.C. § 1331; and (2) diversity jurisdiction where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $75, 000, and is between, inter alia, citizens of different States, or citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Supreme Court has interpreted section 1332(a) to require "complete diversity of citizenship"-that is, each plaintiff must be a citizen of a different state than each defendant. Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996); see Morris v. Princess Cruises, ...


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