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Lorenzo v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 21, 2013

BRYAN J. LORENZO
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE CO., ET AL

Decided November 20, 2013.

Page 853

For Bryan J Lorenzo, Plaintiff: Sally Dunlap Fleming, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Sally Dunlap Fleming, PLC, New Orleans, LA; Owen M. Courreges, Owen M. Courreges, Attorney at Law, New Orleans, LA.

For State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Defendant: Charles L. Chassaignac, IV, LEAD ATTORNEY, Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson (Baton Rouge), Baton Rouge, LA; Adrianne L. Baumgartner, Darrin Michael O'Connor, Emily Stickney Morrison, Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson (Covington), Covington, LA.

OPINION

Page 854

ORDER AND REASONS

JAY C. ZAINEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Before the Court is a Motion to Remand (Rec. Doc. 7) filed by plaintiff, Bryan J. Lorenzo. Defendant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., opposes the motion. The motion, scheduled for submission on September 11, 2013, is before the Court on the briefs without oral argument. For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

This lawsuit arises out of an insurance claim made by non-party Daniel R. Anderson against his auto policy with defendant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. Anderson reported his vehicle stolen and then filed a claim with State Farm. State Farm questioned the legitimacy of Anderson's claim, and in the course of its investigation, representatives of State Farm questioned Bryan J. Lorenzo, plaintiff herein. Lorenzo is the manager of the sales department of a local Chevrolet dealership. Anderson purchased a vehicle from Lorenzo and State Farm's fraud department became suspicious of a possible connection between Anderson, Lorenzo, and the insurance proceeds from Anderson's allegedly stolen vehicle. During the course of Anderson's suit against State Farm, Lorenzo became aware of the scope of the investigation that the State Farm representatives had engaged in after Lorenzo declined to cooperate in their investigation of Anderson. Anderson contends that two State Farm employees, Kara Carpenter and Reumae Richardson, defamed him and invaded his privacy during

Page 855

the course of their insurance fraud investigation.

Lorenzo sued State Farm, Carpenter, and Richardson in state court alleging state law causes of action. Lorenzo, Carpenter, and Richardson are all citizens of Louisiana so the parties are not completely diverse in citizenship. State Farm removed the case contending that Lorenzo improperly joined Carpenter and Richardson such that their citizenship can be ignored for purposes of determining jurisdiction. Specifically, State Farm argues that Lorenzo's cause of action does not fall within the confines of the Louisiana Supreme Court's ...


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