United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRIONES SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
day, the Court considered Plaintiff YNR LLC Series O's
("Plaintiff) "Memorandum of Law in Support of
Motion to Remand" ("Motion"), filed in the
above-captioned case on November 13, 2017. Therein, Plaintiff
asks the Court to remand this case to state court for lack of
jurisdiction. On November 20, 2017, Defendant State Farm
Lloyds, Inc. ("Defendant") filed its "Brief in
Opposition to Plaintiffs Motion to Remand"
("Response"). On November 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed
its Reply. After due consideration, the Court denies
Plaintiffs Motion for the following reasons.
case involves a rental policy dispute in which Plaintiff is
asking for declaratory judgment. In February 2016, Plaintiff
purchased a home in El Paso, Texas, to lease for residential
use. Def. 's Notice Removal Ex. A-2, at 4. At the same
time, Plaintiff purchased a rental policy from Defendant.
Id. In October 2016, Plaintiff s then-tenant
("Tenant") informed Plaintiff of issues with the
home's HVAC unit. Id. Plaintiff then initiated a
claim with Defendant under the rental policy for damage to
the home, and Defendant stated Tenant's claims were not
covered under the rental policy. Id. at 4-10. On
June 14, 2017, Tenant filed suit against Plaintiff and two
other defendants for physical and mental harm resulting from
the property damage in the HVAC unit. Def.' s Resp. Mot.
Remand Ex. 1, at 3.
August 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed its Original Petition
("Petition") in the 243rd District Court in El Paso
County. In its Petition, Plaintiff claims that it purchased
the rental policy from Defendant and that it now "seeks
a declaratory judgment holding [Defendant] has a duty to
defend and indemnify [Plaintiff] under the terms of the
Policy, up to the applicable policy limits." Def 's
Notice Removal Ex. A-2, at 4, 10. Plaintiff seeks declaratory
judgment, breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust
enrichment, equitable estoppel, promissory estoppel, breach
of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of the
Texas Insurance Code. Id. at 10-16. Plaintiff does
not specify how much it is requesting in damages and states
59. The Plaintiff has suffered actual damages and/or economic
damages by State Farm's above-described acts and
omissions. The Plaintiffs damages include having to pay for
the costs associated with testing the Property. Plaintiff was
further damaged by State Farm's failure to defend and/or
indemnify Plaintiff in regards to the former Tenant's
claims. State Farm's unconscionable conduct also cause
[sic] Plaintiff considerable mental anguish. The Plaintiff
has been further damaged by the need to retain the
undersigned law firm in order to pursue its claims against
60. Plaintiff seeks the value of services and/or restitution
for services provided to State Farm.
Id. at 16-17.
October 12, 2017, Defendant filed its Notice of Removal.
Therein, it claims that this Court has jurisdiction based on
diversity of citizenship ("diversity
jurisdiction"). Def s. Notice Removal ¶ 7. On
November 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion, which
is fully briefed.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute."
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). A district court has diversity jurisdiction
when the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, and the
claims are between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). A defendant may remove a state court action
to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C.
plaintiff may challenge an improper removal by filing a
motion to remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447. "On a
motion to remand, the removing party bears the burden of
showing that federal jurisdiction exists and that removal was
proper." Barker v. Hercules Offshore, Inc., 713
F.3d 208, 212 (5th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and
brackets omitted). Further, "removal statutes are to be
construed strictly against removal and for remand."
Eastus v. Blue Bell Creameries, L.P., 97 F.3d 100,
106 (5th Cir. 1996).
argues that the amount in controversy in this case does not
exceed $75, 000 and that, therefore, the Court does not have
diversity jurisdiction over it. Pl.'s Mot. Admis. Pro Hac
Vice Ex. 2, at 1-2 [hereinafter Pl.'s Mot. Remand].
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the amount in controversy
is measured by the value of the underlying claim and not the
policy limit and that Defendant's potential liability
under the rental policy does not reach the jurisdictional
requirement for amount in controversy. Id. at 4-7.
Defendant argues that Plaintiffs reliance on Hartford
Insurance Group v. Lou-Con Inc.,293 F.3d 908 (5th Cir.
2002) (per curiam) undermines its argument for remand and
that Plaintiff asks the Court to evaluate Tenant's claims
based on other courts' previous decisions to determine
the jurisdictional amount-which would be improper for this
Court to do. ...