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

LERDAHL v. INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA

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: 
2:15-cv-00749 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Mary Guthmiller Lerdahl
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Western District of Washington
Date Filed: 
May 13 2015

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and § 1146, Insurance
Company of North America (“INA”) hereby removes to this Court the state court action
entitled Lerdahl v. Insurance Company of North America dlbla ACE USA and ACE
Recreational Marine Insurance,[1] pending in the Superior Court of the State of Washington in

Case 2:15-cv-00749-TSZ Document 1 Filed 05/13/15 Page 2 of 6

and for the County of King, under Case No. 15-09778-4-SEA (the “State Court Action”) on
the grounds of diversity jurisdiction.

  1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
    Plaintiff, Mary Guthmiller Lerdahl (“Plaintiff’), an individual, served INA with the
    Complaint via statutory service of process on the Insurance Commissioner of the State of
    Washington (the “Insurance Commissioner”) on April 27, 2015. Declaration of Kevin A.
    Michael (“Michael Decl”), Ex. 1. A copy of the Complaint in the State Court Action received
    by the Insurance Commissioner is attached as Exhibit 2 (“Complaint”) to Michael Decl. The
    Insurance Commissioner received the Summons and Complaint on April 24, 2015 and mailed
    it to INA on April 27, 2015. Michael Decl., Exs. 1,3. Removal is thus timely under 28 U.S.C.
    § 1446(b) because fewer than 30 days have passed since service of the Summons and
    Complaint upon INA.
  2. NATURE OF DISPUTE

This is an insurance coverage dispute. INA issued Yachtsman policy number
Y05587311(the “Policy”) to Plaintiff for the policy period May 23, 2013 to May 23, 2014. On
or about June 29, 2013, the boat flooded and sustained damage. Plaintiff filed a Loss Notice
under the Policy.

After completing a thorough investigation, INA determined that the loss was caused by
the failure of the port engine raw water coolant hose. Michael Decl., Ex. 4. INA denied
coverage for the claimed loss on the basis that the damage was caused by or resulted from
wear and tear, gradual deterioration and neglect, all of which are expressly excluded by the
Policy. Id. Plaintiffs lawsuit contests INA’s coverage determination, and alleges breach of

Text Box: LAW OFFICES OF<br />
COZEN O’CONNOR<br />
contract, violation of the Washington Administrative Code, violation of the Washington

NOTICE OF REMOVAL UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (b)

Text Box: A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION<br />
999 THIRD AVENUE<br />
Suite 1900<br />
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98104<br />
(206) 340-1000<br />
(DIVERSITY) - 2

Case 2:15-cv-00749-TSZ Document 1 Filed 05/13/15 Page 3 of 6

Consumer Protection Act, RCW Ch. 19.86, et seq., bad faith, negligence, and violation of the
Insurance Fair Conduct Act pursuant to RCW 48.30.015. Complaint, fflJ4-9. Plaintiff seeks
actual and consequential damages, treble damages under RCW 19.86 et seq. up to $25,000 per
violation, treble damages pursuant to RCW 48.30 et seq., and attorneys’ fees, interest and

costs. Id. at If 10.

  1. GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL

The State Court Action is a civil action over which this Court has original jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, and is one which may be removed to this court by Defendant INA
pursuant to U.S.C. § 1441(b) because it is a civil action between citizens of different states and
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

  1. The Amount In Controversy Is Satisfied Because INA Has A Good Faith Basis To

Believe That Plaintiff Is Seeking Damages In Excess Of $75,000.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1446 (c)(2)(A), the notice of removal may assert the amount in
controversy if the initial pleading in the state court action seeks nonmonetary relief and/or
when the plaintiff does not demand a specific sum.

Text Box: NOTICE OF REMOVAL UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (b)<br />
(DIVERSITY) - 3<br />
In the State Court Action, Plaintiff alleges that INA is responsible for damage to the
vessel and consequential damages. Although INA denies it owes coverage for the damages,
the cost of repairs for Plaintiffs vessel were estimated by Delta Marine Industries, Inc. to be
$74,495.25. Michael Deck, Ex.4. Plaintiff also seeks treble damages under RCW 19.86 et
seq. up to $25,000 per violation, treble damages pursuant to RCW 48.30 et seq., and attorneys’
fees and costs. Although INA denies these allegations, based on the allegations in Plaintiff s
Complaint, the estimated scope of repair, and the prayer for treble damages and attorneys’
fees, Plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000. Taking all of these factors into consideration,

LAW OFFICES OF
COZEN O’CONNOR

A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
999 THIRD AVENUE
SUITE 1900
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98104
(206) 340-1000

class=Section2>

Case 2:15-cv-00749-TSZ Document 1 Filed 05/13/15 Page 4 of 6

INA reasonably believes Plaintiff seeks damages well in excess of the jurisdictional amount of
$75,000.

  1. Complete Diversity Exists Because Plaintiff Is A Citizen Of Washington, Whereas
    Defendant Is A Citizen Of Pennsylvania.

A natural person is considered a citizen of the state where the person is domiciled - that
is, where the person has established a fixed habitation or abode, intending to remain there
permanently or indemnity. See, e.g., Lew v. Moss, 797 F.2d 747, 749-50 (9th Cir. 1986). The
Complaint filed in the State Court Action alleges that Plaintiff currently resides in Auburn,
King County Washington. Complaint, 1J1.1. Accordingly, Plaintiff is a citizen of Washington
State. INA is incorporated in Pennsylvania and maintains its principal place of business in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Michael Deck, Ex.5. Complete diversity exists because neither
party is a citizen of the same state as the other.

  1. Venue Is Proper.

Removal to this Court is proper because the State Court Action was filed in this Court’s
district. See, 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).

Text Box: NOTICE OF REMOVAL UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (b)<br />
(DIVERSITY) - 4<br />
III. STATE COURT PLEADINGS
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a), a copy of all process, pleadings and orders in the State
Court Action served upon INA as of May 13, 2015, are filed with this Notice of Removal of
Civil Action as follows: (1) Summons (Exhibit 6); (2) Complaint (Exhibit 2); and (3) Civil
Case Schedule Order (Exhibit 7). There are no hearings or motions currently pending in the
State Court Action.

LAW OFFICES OF
COZEN O’CONNOR

A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
999 THIRD AVENUE
Suite 1900
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98104
(206) 340-1000


  1. CONCLUSION

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(d), a copy of this Notice of Removal of Civil Action will
be promptly filed in the State Court Action and served upon Plaintiff.



[1] Although the “dba” references listed in the caption are not entirely accurate, INA acknowledges it is affiliated
with the ACE Group of companies and that the dbas listed in the caption should, for the purposes of removal, be
treated as one affiliated entity.

LAW OFFICES OF
COZEN O’CONNOR

A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
999 THIRD AVENUE
Suite 1900
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98104
(206) 340-1000

 

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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