In Florida, most drivers have underinsured motorist insurance, which provides coverage for losses incurred due to accidents with people with inadequate insurance. Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to avoid their obligations by refusing to pay insured individuals the benefits they are owed. In such instances, the insureds can file lawsuits against the insurer, alleging breach of contract and other claims. In many instances, insurance companies will attempt to move cases to federal court in efforts to obtain more favorable rulings. Recently, a Florida court discussed the requirements for proving a federal court can exercise jurisdiction over a matter in a case in which the plaintiff sought remand of an underinsured motorist claim. If your insurer denied you uninsured motorist benefits, you should speak to a Florida car accident lawyer about your options for seeking redress.
History of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff was involved in a rear-end collision with an underinsured motorist. She sustained significant injuries and subsequently filed an underinsured motorist claim with the defendant, the company that provided her automobile insurance. The defendant denied her claim, after which she filed a lawsuit in state court. The complaint alleged her damages were in excess of thirty-thousand dollars and one cent, but the sum in parentheses after the damages amount was $100,000. The defendant, a resident of Michigan, removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, arguing that the defendant failed to show the amount in controversy was sufficient to meet the jurisdictional requirements.
Federal Court Jurisdiction Over Uninsured Motorist Claims
Defendants that remove cases from state court to federal court bear the burden of proving that federal jurisdiction exists. In part, this requires a defendant to set forth a notice of removal that includes a plausible assertion that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold. If a plaintiff disputes an allegation in a notice of removal or a court questions it, the defendant then has to produce evidence showing the amount in controversy requirement is met. Continue reading