Insurance And Removal To Federal Court

Richardson insurance law attorneys will find that when suing insurance companies that the companies want to remove cases to Federal Court. Federals Courts are more favorable grounds for insurance companies to fight their legal battles. Insurance lawyers working for the insureds want to keep the fight in State Courts.
A 2015, opinion from the US District Court, Fort Worth Division is a good opinion to read. It is styled, Living Word Teaching Center v. Robert Morris Adams, Jr. and Allstate Insurance Company.
Living Word brought the instant insurance action in State Court. The church, secured an insurance policy from Allstate covering its 5,000 square foot church. The church later built a large arena next to the church and sought additional coverage for the arena from Allstate. In December 2013, the arena suffered a collapse and was damaged. When Living Word filed an insurance claim for the damage suffered, Allstate advised that the arena was not listed on the policy and therefore, was not covered.
Dissatisfied with the denial, Living Word brought the following claims against Defendants:(I)violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act against Allstate insurance agent, Adams; (2) negligent misrepresentation against Adams; (3) negligence/negligent procurement against Adams; and (4) agency and vicarious liability against Adams and Allstate.
Defendants timely removed the suit alleging diversity jurisdiction and arguing that Adams was improperly joined as a defendant.
To establish that a non-diverse defendant has been improperly joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction, the removing party must show (1) actual fraud in the pleading of jurisdictional facts, or (2) inability of the plaintiff to establish a cause of action against the non-diverse party in state court.
Living Word and Adams are both citizens of Texas. Thus, there is no dispute that the presence of Adams as a defendant destroys diversity jurisdiction. As a result, the question is whether the church sufficiently stated a valid state law cause of action against Adams.
Defendants contend that although the church brings suit against Adams individually and expressly alleges . .. that Adams personally made the misrepresentations forming the basis of the lawsuit, the church has changed its story . . . and now the church claims that it is really complaining about the conduct of an unidentified woman whom the church believes worked at Adams’ office.
The lawsuit provides sufficient notice against Adams under Rule 47 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The lawsuit in this case points to specific causes of action against Adams alone. Specifically, it alleges violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation, and negligence/negligent procurement against only Adams. Additionally, with respect to Living Word’s negligent misrepresentation, and negligence/negligent procurement claims, it asserts that Adams “either individually or through his employees, agents andlor representatives” committed those acts. Texas’s liberal notice-pleading standards require that petitions provide sufficient factual information that the defendant is able to prepare a defense. The Court found that the church met this standard and remanded the case back to the State Court.

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