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Turner v. Paul Revere Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, District of Nevada

December 16, 2014

LEE R. TURNER, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE PAUL REVERE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

Presently before the court is plaintiff Lee R. Turner’s motion to remand. (Doc. # 8). Defendants UNUM Group and Paul Revere Life Insurance Company (“Paul Revere”) filed a response (doc. # 15), and plaintiff filed a reply (doc. # 16).

I. Background

This action arises from an insurance dispute between two out-of-state insurers and a Nevada resident. (See doc. # 1, Exh. A ¶¶ 1-3). Plaintiff has alleged that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional amount. (See doc. # 1, Exh. E, p. 5). The only question in this case is whether defendants’ removal was timely.

On or around April 24, 2014, plaintiff filed the summons and complaint in this action in the Eighth Judicial District Court for Clark County, Nevada. (See doc. # 15). It is undisputed that defendant UNUM Group was properly served on April 28, 2014, and defendant The Paul Revere was properly served on April 30, 2014. (See docs. ## 8, 15).

In the complaint, the prayer for relief sought an award of general and special damages “in an amount in excess of $10, 000.00.” (See doc. # 1, Exh. A). The prayer for relief also sought an award of “compensatory, consequential, statutory, exemplary and punitive damages in an amount in excess of $10, 000.00.” (See id.). The complaint sought costs and attorneys’ fees in an unspecified amount. (See id.). Defendants answered the complaint on June 6, 2014. (See doc. # 15).

On June 26, 2014, plaintiff filed and served its request for exemption from arbitration. (See docs. ## 8, 15). In this request, plaintiff claimed special damages totaling $2, 946, 184.74 and future medical expenses and punitive damages in an amount to be determined. (See doc. # 15). Defendants removed the case on July 24, 2014, twenty-eight days after receipt of plaintiff’s request for exemption from arbitration. Defendants removed eighty-five days after serving the last defendant with its complaint, fifty-five days past the deadline established in 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1).

II. Legal Standard

In deciding whether removal is proper, courts strictly construe the removal statute against finding jurisdiction, and the party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing the removal was appropriate. Provincial Gov’t of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009); see also California ex rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy, Inc., 375 F.3d 831, 838 (9th Cir. 2004) (“The removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction falls to the party invoking the statute”). “Where doubt regarding the right to removal exists, a case should be remanded to state court.” Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins, Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003); see also Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).

A. Timely Removal

Plaintiff argues that the court should remand this matter based on the defendants’ untimely petition for removal. Two clauses from the removal statutes govern the analysis of timeliness.

Title 28 U.S.C § 1446(b)(1) states:

The notice of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall be filed within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action or proceeding is based, or within 30 days after the service of summons upon the defendant if such initial pleading has then been filed in court and is not required to be served on the defendant, whichever period is shorter.

Title 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3) states:

Except as provided in subsection (c), if the case stated by the initial pleading is not removable, a notice of removal may be filed within thirty days after receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may ...

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