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Constance J. Pollock v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

October 26, 2011

CONSTANCE J. POLLOCK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Algenon L. Marbley

Magistrate Judge Terence Kemp

OPINION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Remand ("Motion"). For the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

II. BACKGROUND

A.Factual History

Plaintiff, Constance Pollack, is a resident of Martins Ferry, Ohio, and Defendant, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company ("State Farm"), is a corporation organized under the laws of Illinois, with its principal place of business in Bloomington, Illinois. State Farm is authorized to sell insurance policies in Ohio.

On July 17, 2009, Pollock was riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by her friend, Patricia Morrison. After exiting the highway, Morrison's vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle when it was stopped because of traffic. Pollock alleges that as a direct and proximate result of the collision, she "suffered serious and permanent injuries and incurred bills for reasonable and necessary medical treatment." (Compl. ¶ 4.) Morrison had a policy with State Farm that provided up to $100,000 in medical payment coverage, and Pollock, as a passenger in Morrison's vehicle when the accident occurred, qualified as an additional insured under that policy.

Pollock submitted a claim with State Farm for approximately $47,000, the aggregate amount under the policy she contends State Farm is obligated to reimburse her as a result of the medical attention she received. Pollock alleges that to date, State Farm has paid only $14,372.93 and refuses, in bad faith, to pay the full amount due under the policy. Pollock asks for "compensatory damages in an amount in excess of $25,000 as well as punitive damages in a sum in excess of $25,000, for costs incurred in pursuit of this action, for pre- and post judgment interest, for reasonable attorney fees, and such other relief as this court deems proper." (Compl.)

B.Procedural History

On June 30, 2011, the same day Pollock filed her complaint, State Farm filed a Notice of Removal, asking that this civil action to be removed from the Belmont County Court of Common Pleas to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446.*fn1

(Doc. 1, 6.) The issue of diversity of the parties is not contested. The threshold issue before this Court is therefore whether the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. This issue has been briefed by the parties and is now ripe for review.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Removal of cases from state to federal court is governed by 28 U.S.C. ยง 1441(a), which provides that "any civil action brought in state court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction may be removed by the defendant or the defendants to the district court of the United States . . . where such action is pending." Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over "all civil actions where the matter in controversy ...


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