United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR., United
States District Judge
IN CHAMBERS ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR REMAND (DKT. NO.
15) AND GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS (DKT. NO. 6)
Honorable ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR., United States District
the Court are Plaintiff Maria Neumayer’s
(“Plaintiff”) Motion for Remand (Dkt. No. 15) and
Defendant Allstate Insurance Company’s
(“Defendant”) Motion to Dismiss First Cause of
Action for Breach of Contract (Dkt. No. 6). Oppositions and
Replies were filed as to both motions. The Court previously
took the motions under submission. For the following reasons,
the Court DENIES the motion for remand and GRANTS the motion
asserts claims against her insurance company arising out of a
claim she made on her policy’s uninsured motorist
coverage. Plaintiff alleges that pursuant to the policy, she
submitted her claim for arbitration, and Defendant
“refused to settle Plaintiff’s claim for $15,
000.00 and offered only $9, 000.00 to settle general damages
claim, barely more than Plaintiff’s medical
expenses.” Compl. ¶ 17. Plaintiff also alleges
that her claim was worth less than what Defendant paid to
arbitrate it, and that Defendant knew she could not afford
her $4, 925 share of the arbitration cost (the Complaint
suggests Plaintiff is indigent and could not afford to
advance the fee). Id. Plaintiff also alleges that
the arbitration was a “sham” in that it was
conducted without her participation or agreement.
Id. at ¶ 18. The Complaint also alleges that
Plaintiff and her counsel attempted to negotiate a way to for
her to pay the fee, but Defendant did not cooperate.
Id. at ¶¶ 19-23.
on these allegations, Plaintiff asserts claims for breach of
contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and
fair dealing, and seeks “unpaid Policy benefits in the
approximate amount of $70, 000, ” plus attorneys’
fees, general damages including anxiety and other emotional
damages, and punitive damages. Id. pp. 10-11.
Plaintiff asks in the alternative for the court to “set
aside the sham arbitration award and order Plaintiff’s
original [uninsured motorist] claim to be tried at a superior
court. . .” Id. p. 11.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Remand is
removed the action to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction. Plaintiff argues that the case should be
remanded because the amount in controversy is not satisfied.
jurisdiction founded on 28 U.S.C. § 1332 requires that
the parties be in complete diversity and the amount in
controversy exceed $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, a defendant may
remove an action from state court to federal court if the
diversity and amount in controversy requirements of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332 are satisfied and if “none of the parties
in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a
citizen of the State in which such action is brought.”
28 U.S.C. § 1441.
amount in controversy, for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction, is the total “amount at stake in the
underlying litigation.” Theis Research, Inc. v.
Brown & Bain, 400 F.3d 659, 662 (9th Cir. 2005).
“[I]n assessing the amount in controversy, a court must
‘assume that the allegations of the complaint are true
and assume that a jury will return a verdict for the
plaintiff on all claims made in the complaint.’”
Campbell v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 471 Fed.Appx. 646,
648 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Kenneth Rothschild Trust v.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 199 F.Supp.2d 993, 1001
(C.D. Cal. 2002)).
suggests that amount in controversy is established by her
$15, 000 settlement demand, so the amount in controversy does
not exceed $75, 000. This is not persuasive. The Complaint
expressly seeks $70, 000 in compensatory damages, plus
attorneys’ fees, emotional distress damages, and
punitive damages. It is obvious that expressly claiming $70,
000 in compensatory damages in addition to these other
categories of damages puts the amount in controversy above
$75, 000. Defense counsel also states in her declaration that
while discussing this motion, she asked Plaintiff’s
counsel if he would stipulate to cap damages at $75, 000, and
he responded that he would cap compensatory damages at $75,
000, but would seek punitive damages beyond that amount.
See Badawi Decl. ¶ 3. This reinforces the
conclusion that the amount in controversy is satisfied. The
motion for remand is therefore DENIED.
The Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Breach of ...