Insurance Cases And Courts

In the majority of cases it is best for a cases wherein an individual or small company litigates the case in State Court rather than Federal Court.  As a result, knowing how to keep a case in Federal Court is important.  Here is a 2020 opinion from the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, wherein the Federal Court was not willing to allow the case to be in State Court.  The opinion is styled, Helayas Logistics LLC v. Jacob Christian Stineman, Streamline Insurance, Inc., Luis Alberto Roman, and Great Lakes Insurance SE.

Helayas sued the Defendants in State Court and the Defendants timely removed the case to Federal Court based on diversity jurisdiction and Helayas timely filed a motion to Remand back to the State Court.  The Defendants assertion was that there were not proper causes of action asserted against the three non-diverse defendants, Stineman, Streamline, and Roman.

The Court is to conduct a Rule 12(b)(6) type analysis to determine whether there are sufficient detailed causes of action against the non-diverse defendants.  Where the well-plead facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged, but has not shown, that the pleader is entitled to relief.  Although the pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands more than labels and conclusions.

Helayas claims that it suffered from a cargo loss.  Helayas asserts that at the time of the loss, it had a policy of Cargo insurance through Defendants, which was in full force and effect.  Importantly, according to Helayas, the cargo loss was “the type of loss that should have been covered by the policy”.  However, “Great Lakes denied Helayas claim benefits based on Great Lake’s assertion that the cargo being carried by Helayas was excluded under the policy due to the cargo, brass metals, being a non-ferrous metal which is excluded from the policy”.  Helayas further contends that when it purchased the policy through the Non-Diverse Defendants, “the agents asked Helayas what type of cargo it transported”.  Helayas claims it “told the agent it hauled scrap metals among other types of cargo and that it needed cargo insurance coverage for all the cargo loads hauled by Helayas.

Whether the plaintiff has stated a valid state law cause of action depends upon and is tied to the factual fit between the plaintiff’s allegations and the pleaded theory of recovery.  Thus, to achieve a factual fit, Plaintiff “must allege facts sufficient to establish the essential elements of each asserted cause of action.”  Accordingly, merely lumping diverse and non-diverse defendants together in undifferentiated liability averments of a petition does not satisfy the requirement to state specific actionable conduct against the non-diverse defendant.  Likewise, merely asserting a laundry list of statutory violations without factual support as to how a non-diverse defendant violated the statute will not suffice.

The Motion to Remand was denied.

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