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Pelletier v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

April 11, 2017

PETER & MARY PELLETIER, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE VEHICLE AND PROPERTY INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN McBRYDE United States District Judge

         Came on for consideration the motion of plaintiffs, Peter and Mary Pelletier, to abstain and remand. The court, having considered the motion, the response of defendant Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company ("Allstate"}, the record, and applicable authorities, finds that the motion should be denied.

         I.

         Plaintiffs' Claims

         On January 27, 2017, plaintiffs filed their original petition in the 141st Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, against Allstate and William Walter Saari, Jr. ("Saari"). Doc.[1] 9. They allege that Allstate engages in the business of insurance and that Saari engages in the business of adjusting insurance claims. Doc. 9, pet. at ¶¶ 5-6. They do not allege that Saari owed them any duty under the insurance policy or that he had the authority to bind Allstate with regard to the insurance policy.

         The only specific factual allegations with regard to Saari are as follows:

15. Allstate assigned or hired Saari to adjust the claim.
a. Saari had a vested interest in undervaluing the claims assigned to him by Allstate in order to maintain his employment. The disparity in the number of damaged items in his report compared to that of Plaintiffs' [sic] is evidence of fraud on the part of Saari. The valuation of damages that were included in Saari's report compared to Plaintiffs' is also evidence of fraud on the part of Saari.
b. Furthermore, Saari was aware of Plaintiffs' deductible before visiting the Property to conduct the inspection. Saari had advanced [sic] knowledge of what amount of damages he needed to find in order to underpay the claim.
c. Saari made misrepresentations as to the amount of damage Plaintiffs' Property sustained as well as misrepresentations regarding how much it would cost to repair the damage to Plaintiffs' Property.
d. Saari and or Allstate used their expertise to fabricate plausible explanations for why visible damage to Plaintiffs' Property would not be covered under the policy. Such misrepresentations include damage to the Property owing from cosmetic damage.
17. . . . Saari found that the roof only had cosmetic damage which was excluded by the policy. Saari wrongfully made no adjustments for the damage done to the DECRA interlocking tile panels.

Doc. 9, pet. ¶¶ 15, 17.

         Plaintiffs assert claims against defendants for violations of Chapters 541 and 542 of the Texas Insurance Code, for violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, Tex. Bus. & Com. Code §§ 17.41-.63 ("DTPA"), and fraud. They also sue Allstate for breach of contract and breach of duty of good faith and ...


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