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Baldwin v. Habte

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 29, 2018

ROGER DORN BALDWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL Y. HABTE; NELLIS CAB, LLC.; GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY; DOES I through X; and ROE CORPORATIONS XI through XX, Defendants.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before this Court comes Defendant GEICO General Insurance Company (“GEICO”)'s Motion to Sever Improperly Joined Claims (ECF No. 5); GEICO's Motion to Remand to State Court Non-Diverse Claims (ECF No. 6); Plaintiff Roger Dorn Baldwin (“Plaintiff”)'s Motion to Remand for Lack of Diversity and Request for Attorney's Fees (ECF No. 8); GEICO's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 10); and GEICO's Motion to Stay Claims for Bad Faith (ECF No. 11). For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and denies GEICO's Motions.

         II. BACKGROUND

         a. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts in his Complaint. Plaintiff is a resident of Clark County, Nevada. Defendant Michael Y. Habte (“Habte”) is a resident Clark County, Nevada. Defendant Nellis Cab, LLC (“Nellis Cab”) is a limited liability corporation and/or business entity authorized to do business as a taxicab company in Clark County, Nevada. Defendant GEICO is a corporation and/or business entity authorized to do business as an insurance company in Clark County, Nevada.

         On June 24, 2015, Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision with Habte at 7:15 p.m. on South Valley View Boulevard, south of Viking Road, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plaintiff was traveling northbound on Valley View when Habte failed to yield to the right-of-way and pulled into Plaintiff's travel lane causing the car crash. Plaintiff alleges that, at the time of the subject car crash, Habte was working within the scope and course of his employment with Nellis Cab. This accident caused physical injuries to Plaintiff.

         On October 6, 2015, Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision with nonparty Mary C. Trotter (“Trotter”). The collision occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. on southbound Valley View, at the red light with Flamingo Avenue, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plaintiff was driving southbound on Valley View on the Number One travel lane, directly in front of Trotter. Plaintiff stopped his vehicle for the red light ahead and Trotter failed to use due care and struck the rear of Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff alleges that Trotter's negligence was the clear cause of the October 6, 2015 collision. Plaintiff was injured as a result of the collision caused by Trotter's negligence.

         Trotter's vehicle was insured with The General Insurance Company, with policy limits of $15, 000 per person and $30, 000 per occurrence. On or about March 8, 2016, Trotter, by and through her insurance company, claim number PA0002030335, tendered the available policy limits, $15, 000, to Plaintiff.

         At the time of the October 6, 2015 collision, Plaintiff and his vehicle were insured with GEICO. This insurance policy included uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UM/UIM”) benefits with a policy limit of $50, 000 / $100, 000. Plaintiff notified GEICO of a potential underinsured motorist claim on or about October 7, 2015. Plaintiff alleges that GEICO is entitled to offsets in the amount of $25, 000: $15, 000 for Trotter's third party settlement, and $10, 000 in medical payments that were paid by GEICO.

         Plaintiff's past medical bills are reasonable in light of Plaintiff's injuries and the treatment that was provided to Plaintiff by his treating physicians, and were necessarily incurred by him for treatment he received because of injuries that were proximately caused in the October 6, 2015 collision. GEICO owed Plaintiff a duty to act in good faith in evaluating, investigating, and handling his claim, but was instead indifferent, inexcusably ignorant, and worse.

         Plaintiff asserts the following causes of action: (1) negligence / negligence per se, against Habte; (2) negligence (respondeat superior), against Nellis Cab; (3) negligent hiring / training / supervision, against Nellis Cab; (4) negligent entrustment, against Nellis Cab; (5) breach of uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist insurance contract, against GEICO; (6) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing / bad faith, against GEICO; and (7) violation of Nevada's Unfair Claims Practices Act, against GEICO.

         b. Procedural History

         Plaintiff originally filed suit in the Eighth Judicial District on January 5, 2017. (ECF 1-1). Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint in state court on March 15, 2017.[1] On March 20, 2017, the case was removed to this Court. (ECF No. 1). In its Petition for Removal, GEICO argued that it was diverse from Plaintiff, ...


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