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

SMITH 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: 
3:15-cv-00044 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Michael B. Smith
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Connecticut District Court
Date Filed: 
Jan 12 2015

Defendant ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY (hereinafter referred to as
“ACE”), by its attorneys LENNON MURPHY CAUFIELD & PHILLIPS, LLC, respectfully
files this Notice of Removal pursuant to 29 U.S.C. Sec. 1441(a) et seq. and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1332.  
In support thereof ACE states the following:
1. This Notice of Removal is being made subject to the right of ACE to appear specially  
and interpose any defense including but not limited to any defense made pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b).
2. On or about December 16, 2014, plaintiff MICHAEL B. SMITH commenced an  
action against ACE by filing a Summons and Complaint in the Superior Court of State of
Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk, Civil Action No. FST-FA-15-6024167-S
(the “State Court Action”).   
3. On or about December 22, 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 plaintiffs’
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.
4. The Complaint asserts that Mr. Smith submitted a claim for engine failure and  
associated repairs in the amount of $90,000.00 to ACE and that ACE improperly denied
coverage for this claim pursuant to the terms and conditions of a marine policy of insurance.  The
Complaint has asserted four (4) causes of action.  In the first cause of action, plaintiff has alleged
ACE breached the terms and conditions of the involved marine policy of insurance.   
5. In the second cause of action, plaintiff has alleged ACE has engaged in unfair  
insurance claim settlement practices by violating Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 38a-816(6)m
et seq.   
6. In the third cause of action, plaintiff has alleged that ACE has violated the  
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practice Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 42-110(b), et seq.   
7. In the fourth cause of action, plaintiff has alleged ACE engaged in bad faith and is in  
Breach of its covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  In addition to $90,000 in money damages,
plaintiff has alleged it is entitled to treble damages, costs and attorney fees pursuant to the
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practice Act, CGS Sec. 42-110(b), 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.
st
2012); Lloyd’s of London v. Pagan-Sanchez, 539 F.3d 19, 24, fn. 5 (1 Cir. 2008) and Central
st
Int’l. Co. v. Kemper National Ins. Co., 202 F.3d 372, 372 (1 Cir. 2000) (“Suits on maritime
insurance policies are classic examples of matters within federal maritime jurisdiction.”).   
9. As reflected in the exhibit attached to plaintiffs’ Complaint, there is a particular basis  
for admiralty and maritime jurisdiction in that the matter in controversy involves an
interpretation and application 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,” “latent defect” 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. Upon information and belief, there is a sufficient basis to also assert diversity  
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1332.
11. Plaintiff MICHAEL B. SMITH is an individual who resides in or around New  
Canaan, Connecticut.
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. Upon information and belief, all parties to this litigation are citizens of different states.
14. Plaintiff’s complaint does not specify a quantum for their costs and expenses caused by  
ACE’s alleged breach of the marine policy of insurance, but in paragraph nine (9) of the
Complaint, plaintiff has alleged damages in the amount of $90,000.00 sometime in August of
2012.  Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1446(c)(2)(A)(ii), plaintiff appears to be seeking a money
judgment in excess of $75,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, and State practice either does
not permit a demand for a specific sum or permits recovery of damages in excess of the amount
demanded.  Upon information and belief, if plaintiff is successful in establishing a breach of the
marine policy of insurance by ACE, which is denied, there is a reasonable probability that
plaintiff will be able to collect damages which exceed seventy-five thousand dollars
($75,000.00), exclusive of interest and costs.  See Providence Piers, LLC v. SMM New England,
Inc., 2013 WL 178183, *3-*4 (D.R.I. 2013); see also Reynolds v. World Couriers Ground, Inc.,  
272 F.R.D. 28, 285-86 (D.Mass. 2011); Mut. Real Estate Holdings, LLC v. Houston Cas. Co.,
2010 WL 3608043, *3 (D.N.H. 2010) and Toutsey v. Avibank Mfg., Inc., 734 F.Supp.2d 230, 236
(D.Mass. 2010).  In addition to money damages, plaintiff is further seeking treble damages, costs
and attorney fees pursuant to its allegation that ACE has violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade
Practices Act, CGS Sec. 42-110(b), et seq.
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 Connecticut state law.   
16. The District of Connecticut 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.
19. Removal of this case to federal court is also proper because there exists diversity of  
citizenship between the parties and the amount is controversy exceeds $75,000.00 exclusive of
interest and costs.  
20. 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
Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk, 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
Connecticut, Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk 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

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.

Javascript is required to view this map.