Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Miranda v. Selective Insurance Co. of Southeast

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 1, 2018

PEGGY ENRIQUES MIRANDA, ET AL.
v.
SELECTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY OF THE SOUTHEAST, ET AL.

         SECTION: “J” (5)

          ORDER & REASONS

          CARL J. BARBIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         NATURE OF MOTION AND RELIEF REQUESTED

         Before the Court is a Motion to Remand to State Court (Rec. Doc. 148) filed by Plaintiffs, Jimmy and Peggy Miranda, and an opposition thereto filed by Defendant, Dwight W. Andrus Insurance, Inc. (Rec. Doc. 152). Having considered the motion and legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the motion should be GRANTED.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs own property located in Covington, Louisiana, which sustained damage in a flooding event in March of 2016. Plaintiffs allege that they contracted with Dwight W. Andrus Insurance, Inc. (“Andrus”) for the procurement of flood insurance coverage for their property. Andrus obtained insurance from Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast (“Selective”), a Write-Your-Own Program Carrier participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. According to Plaintiffs, Selective would bill Plaintiffs' mortgage company, Nationstar Mortgage, LLC (“Nationstar”) for the flood insurance premium, and the premium would then be paid from an escrow account maintained by Nationstar. However, when Plaintiffs' property flooded on March 12, 2016, Plaintiffs discovered that their property was not insured because the policy had lapsed due to nonpayment.

         The Plaintiffs' property suffered damage as a result of the flooding. On June 2, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Selective, Nationstar, and Andrus in the 22nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. Tammany, Louisiana. (Rec. Doc. 1-1.) On July 8, 2016, Selective removed the case to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act (“NFIA”). 42 U.S.C. §§ 4001, et seq. Plaintiffs later amended their complaint adding CoreLogic Solutions, LLC (“CoreLogic”) as a defendant. Selective filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, which was granted by this Court on the grounds that Plaintiffs' state law claims against Selective were preempted by federal law. (Rec. Doc. 130). Plaintiffs moved to dismiss Nationstar as a result of a settlement agreement, which the Court granted. (Rec. Doc. 144.) The Court also granted CoreLogic's Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim against it. (Rec. Doc. 99.) Thus, since removal, Andrus is the only remaining defendant in this case.

         On September 6, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Remand this matter back to state court arguing that all of the claims raising federal question jurisdiction have been dismissed. (Rec. Doc. 148.) Andrus has filed an opposition to the motion acknowledging that there are no remaining allegations over which this Court has original jurisdiction, but requesting that this Court exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. (Rec. Doc. 152.) The motion is now before the Court on the briefs and without oral argument.

         LEGAL STANDARD AND DISCUSSION

         When Selective removed this case to federal court, it predicated jurisdiction on the National Flood Insurance Act (“NFIA”). 42 U.S.C. §§ 4001, et seq. The NFIA grants federal courts original exclusive jurisdiction over lawsuits against Write-Your-Own (“WYO”) insurance companies like Selective for disallowing claims made by insureds under Standard Flood Insurance Policies (“SFIPs”). 42 U.S.C. § 4072. WYO companies are the fiscal agents of the United States by statute, and all payments on SFIP claims come from the federal treasury. Wright v. Allstate Ins. Co., 415 F.3d 384, 386 (5th Cir. 2005); 42 U.S.C. § 4071; see Waltrip v. Brooks Agency, Inc., 417 F.Supp.2d 768, 770 (E.D. Va. 2006) (“[A] significant federal interest exists in the uniform application of the NFIP as it directly impacts the federal coffers.”). Therefore, when an insured sues its WYO insurance carrier over the handling of its claim under SFIP, the suit must be brought in federal court. Corliss v. S.C. Ins. Co., 03-2944, 2004 WL 2988497, at *2 (E.D. La. Dec. 14, 2004). The Court must determine whether federal jurisdiction remains in this case now that Andrus is the only remaining Defendant.

         Plaintiffs' claims against Andrus are for its alleged “failure to properly and fully provide and/or secure NFIP flood insurance coverage for the policy period from November 2, 2015 - November 2, 2016 and/or failing to inform Plaintiffs of non-payment by Nationstar.” (Rec. Doc. 1-1 ¶ 21.) Specifically, Plaintiffs assert the following claims against Andrus: breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, negligence pursuant to Article 2315, and detrimental reliance. Andrus admits that there are no remaining allegations that would fall under the original jurisdiction of this Court. See Landry v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 428 F.Supp.2d 531, 534 (E.D. La. 2006) (“claims involving procurement of NFIA policies do not fall within the Court's federal question jurisdiction”). Andrus is not a WYO insurance carrier and is not a fiscal agent of the United States, thus, federal funds are not implicated. Furthermore, Plaintiffs are not alleging that Andrus breached the SFIP; rather, Plaintiffs allege that they entered into a contract with Andrus to procure flood insurance on their property and that Andrus breached this contract by failing to procure flood insurance. The interpretation of NFIP regulations is not an issue in this case. See Sullivan v. State Farm & Cas. Co., 06-1677, 2006 WL 2119320, at *3 (E.D. La. July 27, 2006) (finding that because “Plaintiffs' claims do not arise from [the insurer's] compliance with FEMA regulations under an NFIP policy, but rather are claims that relate to the procurement of insurance and errors and omissions of an insurance agent, ” the case did not fall under the court's federal question jurisdiction.”); see also Waltrip v. Brooks Agency, Inc., 417 F.Supp.2d 768, 770 (E.D. Va. 2006) (Federal question “jurisdiction does not exist in a lawsuit bringing state law claims of negligence, breach of contract, or fraud relating to the procurement of flood insurance under the NFIP.”). As such, the Court agrees with the parties that the remaining claims against Andrus do not raise federal question jurisdiction.

         Next, the Court must determine whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims asserted against Andrus. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), a court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over claims “that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy.” Furthermore, section 1367(c) allows a district court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim, if any of the following four factors are met and weigh in favor of doing so:

(1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of State law,
(2) the claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims over which the district court has ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.