United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND Re: Dkt. No.
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR., United States District Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff Emily Richer's motion to
remand. Dkt. No. 10. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court GRANTS Plaintiff's
facts, as relevant to this motion, are as follows. In late
2014, Plaintiff sought to insure her two-building residence
in St. Helena, California. Dkt No. 1-1 (Complaint or
“Compl.”) ¶¶ 12, 15. Plaintiff's
broker, Defendant Malloy Imrie & Vasconi Insurance
Services (“MIV”), procured a policy administered
by Defendant Travelers Commercial Insurance Company
(“Travelers”). Id. ¶ 16. The
Travelers policy contained a provision excluding
“structures [that are] rented or held for
rental.” Id. ¶ 16. While she was covered
by the policy, Plaintiff used Airbnb, “an
internet-based service that connects property owners with
individuals seeking lodging, ” to rent out her property
on three separate occasions. Id. ¶¶ 19-20.
February 2017, “after several days of severe storms,
” a large tree fell against the bottom level of one of
Plaintiff's buildings and “cracked a foundational
pier, caved in the exterior walls and caused the floor to
buckle, damaging a custom-built wine rack.”
Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff immediately contacted
Travelers to notify the company of the damage. Id.
¶ 23. She alleges that because Travelers “refused
to explain her coverage and exactly what it needed to adjust
her claim, ” she enlisted MIV to serve as a liaison.
Id. ¶ 32. At that point, “MIV began
working on [Plaintiff's] behalf to handle the
claim.” Id. ¶ 33.
thereafter, Plaintiff and MIV received a letter from
Travelers dated March 7, 2017, which to Plaintiff's
surprise “suggested that the loss might be excluded
under a policy provision regarding rented structures.”
Id. ¶ 23. Travelers further requested a copy of
the lease to “further investigate the coverage
available” to Plaintiff under the policy. Id.
¶ 35. One of MIV's managing members, David Capponi,
“undertook to speak with Travelers' underwriting
manager and legal department, and to e-mail the claims
manager.” Id. ¶ 36. Plaintiff alleges
that Capponi, “having assumed the duty of acting as
[her] representative, did not relay all the information to
Travelers and/or did not explain the loss and the Airbnb
usage adequately and/or failed to make reasonable efforts to
handle the claim on [Plaintiff's] behalf, thereby
contributing to the ultimate claim denial.”
March 30, 2017, Travelers sent Plaintiff and MIV a letter
denying the claim, citing the policy provision excluding
rented structures. Id. ¶¶ 37-38. Travelers
did not “evaluate the whole loss and adjust the claim .
. . .” Id. ¶ 41. Plaintiff estimates the
cost of the damage to be between $80, 000 and $120, 000.
Id. ¶ 22.
12, 2017, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in the Superior Court
of California in Napa County. Dkt. No. 1-1. On August 28,
2017, Travelers both answered the Complaint in state court,
Dkt. No. 1-1 at 26 (ECF pagination), and filed a notice of
removal in this Court on diversity grounds, Dkt. No. 1
(“Notice”). Plaintiff filed this motion to remand
on September 27, 2017. Dkt. No. 10. Defendant filed its
opposition to Plaintiff's motion on October 11, 2017,
Dkt. No. 15, and Plaintiff filed her reply on October 18,
2017, Dkt. No. 16.
defendant may remove a civil action in state court to the
federal court “for the district and division embracing
the place where such action is pending” if the federal
court has subject matter jurisdiction over the matter.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “If a case is
improperly removed, the federal court must remand the action
because it has no subject-matter jurisdiction to decide the
case.” ARCO Envtl. Remediation, L.L.C. v. Dep't
of Health & Envtl. Quality of Mont., 213 F.3d 1108,
1113 (9th Cir. 2000). On a motion to remand, federal courts
must presume that a cause of action lies beyond its subject
matter jurisdiction, Hunter v. Philip Morris USA,
582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009), and must grant remand
“if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in
the first instance, ˮ Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980
F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Courts must resolve all
ambiguity in favor of remand. Hunter, 582 F.3d at
federal court to exercise subject matter jurisdiction on
diversity of citizenship grounds, “the amount in
controversy must exceed $75, 000, and the parties must be
citizens of different states.” Rainero v. Archon
Corp., 844 F.3d 832, 839 (9th Cir. 2016) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)). For purposes of diversity, a
corporation is deemed to be a citizen of every state where it
has been incorporated and where it has its “principal
place of business.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).
“[T]o bring a diversity case in federal court against
multiple defendants, each plaintiff must be diverse from each
defendant.” Lee v. Am. Nat'l Ins. Co., 260
F.3d 997, 1004 (9th Cir. 2001). One claim against one
non-diverse defendant violates this complete diversity
requirement and is sufficient to destroy diversity
jurisdiction. Wis. Dep't of Corr. v. Schacht,
524 U.S. 381, 389 (1998).