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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

BACH et al v. ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY et al

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
3:12-cv-02518 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Daniel Bach
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
District of New Jersey
Date Filed: 
Apr 27 2012

"Defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY (hereinafter referred to as "ACE"), by their attorneys COZEN O'CONNOR, respectfully files this Notice of Removal pursuant to 29 U.S.C. Sec. 1441(a), and in support thereof states the following:

1. On or about March 29, 2012, plaintiffs DANIEL BACH, CAROL BACH and KEY NORTH LLC commenced an action against ACE and co-defendant GLOBAL MARINE INSURANCE AGENCY INC. ("GLOBAL MARINE") by filing a Summons and Complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Monmouth County (the "State Court Action").

2. A true and correct copy of plaintiffs' Summons and Complaint is attached hereto as Exhibit "A", and, upon information and belief,. constitutes all process, pleadings, and orders filyd in the State Court Action.

3. In the State Court action, plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against defendants alleging various causes of action. The first cause of action is asserted by DANIEL and CAROL BACH ("hereinafter collectively referred to as "the BACHS") against ACE and is described. as "declaratory judgment", but is worded as a "breach of contact", and alleges that ACE has not honored its obligations under the involved policy of insurance. The first cause of action specifically references ACE's alleged refusal to honor plaintiffs' salvage claim.

4. The second cause of action is asserted by the BACHS against ACE and is described as "breach of contract," and describes further how ACE has not honored its duties under the involved policy of insurance.

5. The third cause of action is asserted by the BACHS against GLOBAL MARINE and is described as "breach of contract", and specifically alleges GLOBAL MARINE failed to add Mr. McGinty as an authorized operator of Motor Vessel "Sweet Caroline" ("the Vessel") and to extend the navigation warranty to allow for navigation of the Vessel in Florida during the winter season.

6. The fourth cause of action is asserted by the BACHS against ACE and is described as "negligence". ACE is alleged to have authorized the salvage of the Vessel, after sinking, by plaintiff KEY NORTH LLC.

7. The fifth cause of action is asserted by the BACHS against GLOBAL MARINE and is described as "negligence".

8. The sixth cause of action is asserted by the BACHS against both ACE and GLOBAL MARINE, and is described as "unjust enrichment." The BACHS alleged having fulfilled their obligations under the policy of insurance and that ACE and GLOBAL MARINE should not be allowed to benefit from their bargain, including but not limited to any claims and expenses concerning the loss of the Vessel, including salvage.

9. The seventh cause of action is asserted against both ACE and GLOBAL MARINE, and is described as "estoppel." The seventh cause of action alleges, in part, that ACE confirmed it was going to pay for the salvage to KEY NORTH LLC, as well as confirm insurance coverage for the loss of the vessel in its entirety.

10. The eighth cause of action is asserted by KEY NORTH against ACE, and is described as "estoppel." The eighth cause of action alleges how an ACE adjuster by the name of Mike Burns represented to KEY NORTH that ACE would pay for the salvage of the vessel.

11. The nintli cause of action is asserted by KEY NORTH against ACE, and is described as "breach of contract." The ninth cause of action alleges that ACE entered into an enforceable oral contract with KEY NORTH for the salvage of the vessel.

12. As explained above, throughout the numerous allegations against both ACE and GLOBAL MARINE, plaintiffs allege ACE orally agreed to pay for salvage expenses relating to recovery of the Vessel. In the United States, the applicable law governing marine salvage is the general maritime law of the United States. See Westar Marine Servo Heerema Marine Contractors, 621 F.Supp. 1135 (N.D.Cal. 1985).

13. Plaintiffs' salvage allegations are interwoven throughout many oftheir causes of actions, including the fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth causes of action.

14. Plaintiffs' salvage allegations are interwoven throughout many of their causes of actions, including'the fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth causes of action.

15. The district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 and 1333 in that the matter in controversy, i.e. salvage of the vessel, is governed by settled principles of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. See In re Hudson River Mid-Air Collision on August 9, 2009, 2011 WL 2463527, *2 (D.N.J. 2011) ("admiralty's area of particular competence" ... [includes] "maritime liens, the general average, captures and prizes, limitation of liability, cargo damage, and claims for salvage." citing Executive Jet Aviation v. City o/Cleveland, 409 U.S. 249, 270 (1972»; Historic Aircraft Recovery Corp. v. Wrecked and Abandoned Voight F4U-I Aircraft, 294 F.Supp.2d 132 (D.Me. 2003) (salvage of vessel in navigable waters off Fernandina each, Florida is subject to admiralty and maritime jurisdiction whereas recovery of wrecked plane in small, non-navigable lake is not) and Sullivan v. General Helicopters, Int'l., 564 F.Supp.2d 496 (D.Md. 2008) (salvage granted to helicopter being moved from vessel onto a pier).

16. There is an additional basis for subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1333 in that the matter in controversy involves an interpretation and application of certain clauses in marine yacht policy of insurance relating to a "lay-up" and "navigation" warranty. ACE issued a marine yacht policy of insurance in favor of the BACHS. Both the "lay-up" and "navigation" warranties are terms of art with particular application in a marine yacht policy and relate to ordinary vessel operations in the navigable waters of the United States. As such, to the extent that this dispute involves the interpretation of these marine policy provisions, this dispute necessarily triggers maritime commerce for the purposes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. See of federal courts and could be removed from state court); Monarch Industrial Corp. v.
American Motorists Ins. Co., 276 F.Supp. 972 (S.D.N.Y. 1967) (suit against marine cargo insurer was properly removed to federal court); Wunderlich v. Netherlands Ins.
Co., 125 F.Supp. 877 (S.D.N.Y. 1954) (dispute over interpretation of marine insurance policies Was within original jurisdiction of federal court and savings to suitors clause did not defeat removal).

16. Upon information and belief, there may be sufficient basis to also assert diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1332.

17. Plaintiffs 'DANIEL and CAROL BACH are individuals who reside at 135 1 st Street, #3C, Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

18. Plaintiff KEY NORTH LLC is a Florida corporation with a principal place of business located at 94668 Duck Lake Drive, Fernandina Beach, Florida .

19. Defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY is a California corporation with a principal place of business located at 1601 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

20. Defendant GLOBAL MARINE INSURANCE AGENCY INC. is a corporation or other business entity from one of the fifty states, with a principal place of business located at 12935 S. West Bayshore Drive, Suite 2005, Traverse City, MI 49684.

21. Therefore, upon information and belief, all of the parties to this litigation are citizens of different states.

22. Plaintiffs, in the complaint, have not specified a quantum for their costs and expenses arising from the underlying action, but pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1446(c)(2)(A)(i), plaintiffs do seek nonmonetary relief. Upon information and belief, plaintiffs are collectively seeking damages which exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00), exclusive of interest and costs. Based on telephone calls with plaintiffs' counsel, we believe plaintiffs' total damages, for the purposes of calculating the quantum of damages for diversity jurisdiction purposes, exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00), exclusive'ofinterest and costs.

23. ACE has conferred with co-defendant GLOBAL MARINE and they have no objection to removal to federal court.

24. In filing this Notice of Removal, ACE does not waive any defense, limitation, exclusion, warranty; exception or argument as set forth' in the subject policy of insurance pursuant to federal maritime common law and New Jersey state law.

25. The District of New Jersey, Trenton Vicinage embraces the place where the State Court Action is pending.

26. On or about April 5, 2012, ACE received a ~ourtesy copy of the Summons and Verified Complaint. Upon information and belief, a docket number has not been assigned to the State Court action for want of the Case Information Statement which has yet to be filed by plaintiff s counsel. Upon information and belief, a docket number will be assigned as soon as a Case Information Statement has been filed.

27. This Notice of Removal is being filed with this Court within thirty (30) days after ACE first received, through service or otherwise, a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which the State Court Action is based.

28. Since the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States, this Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331.

29. ACE, upon filing ofthis Notice of Removal, will, as required by 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1446(d), file a copy of the Notice of Removal with the Clerk of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Monmouth County, and will serve a copy of same upon plaintiff.

WHEREFORE, defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY respectfully submit that this Notice of Removal complies with the statutory requirements and respectfully requests that the action now pending against it be removed from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Monmouth County to this Court, that this action proceed in this Court as a properly removed action, and that defendants have such other and further relief as justice requires."

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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