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Garcia v. Standard Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

November 9, 2017

AURORA GARCIA, Plaintiff(s),
v.
STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is plaintiff Aurora Garcia's motion to remand the instant matter back to state court. (ECF No. 12). Defendant Standard Insurance Company responded. (ECF No. 14). Garcia replied. (ECF No. 15).

         I. Facts

         Garcia alleges that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). She does not dispute diversity of citizenship.

         “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of different states.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). If the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000, this court does not have subject matter jurisdiction and must remand.

         This case is about an automobile accident in which, Garcia alleges, she “suffered serious permanent injuries, including the complete loss of all four fingers on her left hand, ” and the “loss of use of her left hand.” (ECF No. 1-1 at 6). The parties agree that Garcia worked for the Clark County School District and was covered under a group policy of accidental death and dismemberment insurance that Standard issued to the school district. (ECF No. 1 at 1). Garcia seeks benefits under the policy for the loss of her fingers. Id. Standard denied Garcia's claim, according to the complaint, primarily due to a disagreement on the meaning of the contract and whether her injury constituted a covered loss. (ECF No. 1-1 at 7-8).

         Garcia's complaint alleges claims for (1) breach of contract, (2) contractual breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and (3) unfair trade practices. (ECF No. 1-1). For each claim, Garcia alleged that Standard caused damages in excess of $15, 000 as a result of Standard's conduct alleged in that claim. Id. In the complaint's prayer for relief, Garcia requests the following judgment:

1. For general damages sustained by Plaintiff in an amount in excess of $15, 000.00;
2. For special damages sustained by Plaintiff in excess of $15, 000.000;
3. For punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial;
4. For reasonable attorney's fees and costs of suit;
5. For interest at the statutory rate; and
6. For any such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

(ECF No. 1-1 at 11).

         In Standard's petition for removal, Standard argues that “[b]y alleging punitive damages, Garcia has placed a great deal more in controversy than the jurisdictional minimum.” (ECF No. 1 at 3). Standard listed many case examples in which a jury award of punitive damages far ...


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