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

BOCK v. ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY

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: 
3:13-cv-05205 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
GREG BOCK
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
District of New Jersey
Date Filed: 
Sep 29 2013

"Defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY (hereinafter referred to as "ACE"), by its 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 August 15, 2013, plaintiff GREG BOCK commenced an action against ACE by filing a Summons and Complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Docket No. SOM-L-1096-13 (the "State Court Action").

2. On or about August 21, 2013, ACE received a copy of the Summons and Complaint filed in the State Court Action via regular mail. A true and correct copy of plaintiff s Summons and Complaint is attached hereto as Exhibit "A", and, upon information and belief, constitutes all process, pleadings, and orders filed in the State Court Action.

3. The Complaint asserts ACE issued Yachtsman Recreational Marine Insurance Policy, No. YKR Y0851270A, which was in force at the time of the alleged incident. The Complaint alleges that while operating their motor yacht—in the navigable waters of the United Statesplaintiff suffered a casualty which caused their vessel to suffer damage. The Complaint further alleges that plaintiffs damages are covered under the ACE marine yacht insurance policy.

4. In particular, plaintiff alleges various causes of action. The first cause of action is asserted by plaintiff against ACE and is described as "breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing," and alleges that ACE has not honored its obligations under its marine yacht insurance policy. The first cause of action specifically references ACE's alleged failure to conduct an internal review or appeal of its declination of coverage.

5. The second cause of action alleges that ACE engaged in an "unconscionable commercial practice" or "deceptive practices" which are in violation of N.J.S.A. 56:8-1, et seq., and seeks treble damages in the total amount of $75,000, plus interest, costs and attorney fees.

6. The third cause of action alleges "breach of contract" and demands judgment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A: 16-50, et seq.

7. The fourth cause of action alleges that the policy terms are "ambiguous, uncertain and unclear" and in violation of N.J.S.A. 56:12-1, et seq.

8. 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—interpretation of a marine insurance policy—is governed by settled principles within admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. See Northern Assur. Co. of America v. Keefe, 845 F.Supp.2d 406, 412 (D.Mass. 2012); Lloyd's of London v. Pagan-Sanchez, 539 F.3d 19, 24, fn. 5 (1st Cir. 2008) and Central Intl. Co. v. Kemper National Ins. Co., 202 F.3d 372, 372 (1st Cir. 2000) ("Suits on maritime insurance policies are classic examples of matters within federal maritime jurisdiction.").

9. As reflected in plaintiffs Complaint, there is a particular basis for admiralty and maritime jurisdiction in that the matter in controversy involves an interpretation and applicatio of the ACE marine yacht insurance policy relating to the insured's obligation to properly maintain the seaworthiness of its vessel. The interpretation of the terms "wear and tear, gradual deterioration, weathering, neglect, lack of reasonable care or due diligence in the maintenance" and "corrosion" have particular relevance in the maritime context in how they relate to the seaworthiness of a vessel operating in the navigable waters of the United States. As such, since this dispute involves the interpretation of these marine policy provisions, this dispute necessarily triggers maritime commerce for the purposes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. Id.; see also McAllister Brothers, Inc. v. Ocean Marine Indemnity Co., 742 F.Supp. 70 (S.D.N.Y. 1984 (dispute involving marine insurance was within the original admiralty jurisdiction 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).

10. There is a sufficient basis to also assert diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1332.

11. Plaintiff GREG BOCK is an individual who resides in or around Bridgewater, New Jersey.

12. Defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY is a Pennsylvania corporation with a principal place of business located at 436 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

13. All parties to this litigation are citizens of different states.

14. In the Second Cause of Action, plaintiffs complaint specifies a quantum of $75,000 for the damages, plus interest, costs and attorney fees caused by ACE's alleged breaches. Upon information and belief, if plaintiff is successful in establishing bad faith against ACE, which is denied, plaintiff may be able to collect damages which exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000.00), exclusive of interest and costs.

15. In explaining its basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction, ACE does not waive anything in the filing of this Notice of Removal and specifically reserves its right to assert 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.

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

17. 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.

18. 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 and 1332.

19. ACE, upon filing of this 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 State of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, and will serve a copy of same upon plaintiff. WHEREFORE, defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY respectfully submits 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 State of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County to this Honorable Court, that this action proceed in this Court as a properly removed action, and that defendant has such other and further relief as justice requires.

CERTIFICATION PURSUANT TO L. Civ. R. 11.2
Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 11.2, the undersigned certifies that, to the best of her knowledge, the within matter in controversy is not the subject of any other action pending in any other Court or of a pending arbitration proceeding, except the state court action previously pending in the New Jersey Superior Court which is the subject of this Notice of Removal, nor is any action or arbitration proceeding contemplated nor are the parties required to be joined in this action."

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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