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Yanez v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 10, 2020

ISMAEL ACOSTA YANEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND

          KEA W RIGGS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion to Remand to State Court (hereinafter, the “Motion”), filed June 18, 2019 (Doc. 4). Having reviewed the parties' briefs and applicable law, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Motion is well taken and, therefore, is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was in an accident with a hit-and-run driver. Plaintiff alleges that a pick-up truck failed to stop at a stop sign, collided with Plaintiff's vehicle, and drove off. Doc. 1-2, p. 2. At the time of the accident, Plaintiff had $75, 000 available in uninsured motorist coverage.

         Plaintiff alleges that he filed a claim with Defendant for uninsured motorist coverage. He supplied his police report, medical records, and bills. Defendant refused to pay on the following grounds: (1) material misrepresentation; (2) bodily injury was not caused by the accident; and (3) a hit and run motor vehicle was not involved.

         On May 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed a complaint in Second Judicial District Court, Bernalillo County, State of New Mexico, asserting the following claims:

Count I: Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing;
Count II: Violation of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act;
Count III: Violation of the Unfair Practices Act; and
Count IV: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

         Plaintiff sought compensatory damages for personal injury, medical costs, punitive damages, attorney fees, and compensation for emotional distress. Defendant removed this case on June 13, 2019. Defendant attached an affidavit from its attorney, Mr. Guebert. Mr. Guebert concluded that, in his experience, this type of action involves more than $75, 000.

         Plaintiff filed a motion to remand shortly thereafter on June 18, 2019, asserting that this Court lacks diversity jurisdiction because the amount in controversy is less than $75, 000. In response, the only additional evidence Defendants presented were policy documents showing that the available uninsured motorist coverage was $75, 000.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff removed this case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1446. Diversity jurisdiction requires diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy in excess of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 ...


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