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

LC FARMS, INC. v. MCGUFFEE 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: 
2:12-cv-00165 Search Pacer
Opposing Party: 
LC Farms, Inc.
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Northern District of Mississippi
Date Filed: 
Aug 29 2012

"1. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1441, and 1556, you are hereby notified that Defendants Rain and Hail, LLC, Rain and Hail Insurance Services, Inc. and Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Company (collectively, "Rain and Hail Defendants") have removed this action from the Circuit Court of Coahoma County, Mississippi to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division, and in support hereof state the following:

2. This action was originally filed on or about July 06, 2012, in the Circuit Court of Coahoma County, Mississippi, as Case No. 14-CI-12-0051.

3. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division, has original subject matter jurisdiction of these civil actions. As has now become apparent, there is complete diversity of citizenship among all properly joined parties and the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, as established herein. No party properly joined as a defendant in this action is a citizen of the State of Mississippi, the state in which this action was brought. This action may therefore be removed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1441.

4. All properly served and joined Defendants join in this removal.1 Further, though joinder of improperly joined Defendant Charles McGuffee ("McGuffee") is not required, McGuffee consents to the removal of this action.

5. This notice falls within thirty days of the Rain and Hail Defendants' receipt of "paper[s] from which it [could] first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable" and within one year of Plaintiffs' filing of the relevant actions. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). Pursuant to\ 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1446 and 104, this action may now be removed to this Court, as it is the District Court for the district and division within which the action is pending.

6. According to Plaintiffs Complaint, Plaintiff LC Farms, Inc. is incorporated in Mississippi, has its principal place of business in Mississippi, and is a citizen of Mississippi. McGuffee is a Mississippi resident but is fraudulently joined as described below, and his citizenship is disregarded for purposes of determining diversity jurisdiction. Rain and Hail, LLC is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Iowa with its principal place of business in Iowa. Defendant Rain and Hail Insurance Services, Inc. is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Iowa with its principal place of business in Iowa. Defendant Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Company is a foreign corporation organized under the laws of a state other than Mississippi with its principal place of business in a state other than Mississippi. Consequently, complete diversity of citizenship exists between all properly
joined parties.

7. Plaintiffs have prayed that the Coahoma County Circuit Court enter judgment for an amount not less than $100,000.00, exclusive of costs. The amount in controversy, accordingly, exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

8. No basis in law or fact exists for Plaintiffs claims against McGuffee, and McGuffee is therefore fraudulently joined. Plaintiffs have improperly joined McGuffee for the attempted purpose of defeating diversity jurisdiction and invoking the "forum-defendant rule." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). There is no basis for recovery against McGuffee under Mississippi law considering that: (1) McGuffee is a claims adjuster for the Rain and Hail Defendants who has been charged with simple negligence and breach of contract; (2) under Mississippi law, an insurance adjuster cannot be held liable for simple negligence in connection with his work on a claim. Bass v. California Life Ins. Co., 581 So.2d 1087, 1089 (Miss. 1991); and (3) under Mississippi law, an agent or adjuster of an insurer cannot be held liable for a breach of a duty or a contract committed by that insurer. McFarlandv. Utica Fire Ins. Co., 814 F.Supp 518, 521 (S.D.Miss. 1992)(citing Moore v. Interstate Fire Ins. Co., F717 F.Supp. 1193 (S.D.Miss. 1989); Schoonover v. West American Ins. Co., 665 F.Supp. 511 (S.D.Miss. 1987)). It follows that no valid claims exist under Mississippi law against McGuffee.

9. The Notice of Removal is filed within thirty (30) days after receipt, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which this action is based.

10. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a), a copy of all process, pleadings and orders received by Defendants is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

11. A copy of the Notice of Removal is being served on Plaintiff, by and through their attorneys of record, and the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Coahoma County, Mississippi.

WHEREFORE, Defendants serve this notice and hereby remove this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, and 1446, and Plaintiff herein is notified to attempt to proceed no further in this case in the Circuit Court of Coahoma County, Mississippi, unless by Order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division. Dated this 29th day of August. 2012."

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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