United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) moves to dismiss Team Toyota Realty, LLC's claims
for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). For the reasons that follow, the
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 13) is
a dispute over payment of Team Toyotas claims under Standard
Flood Insurance Policies issued by a write-your-own insurer
under the National Flood Insurance Program. (Doc. 1).
Toyota owns property in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that it uses
for a car dealership. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 7). New Hampshire
Insurance Company issued Team Toyota two Standard Flood
Insurance Policies covering the property. (Id. at
¶ 8). One policy covered Team Toyota's new car
building; the other covered its used car building.
(Id. at ¶ 8). Both buildings suffered flood
damage in August 2016. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10).
to the policies, Team Toyota submitted flood-loss claims to
New Hampshire Insurance Company. (Id. at ¶ 11).
New Hampshire Insurance Company denied $97, 038.66 of the
$230, 733.75 loss Team Toyota claimed under the policy
covering the used car building. (Id. at ¶ 15).
Team Toyota appealed the partial denial to FEMA, and FEMA
affirmed. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-17). New Hampshire
Insurance Company denied $15, 718.1 of the $930, 483.49 loss
Team Toyota claimed under the policy covering the new car
building. (Id. at ¶ 24).
with these decisions, Team Toyota sued FEMA and New Hampshire
Insurance Company for breach of contract and breach of the
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
(Id. at ¶¶ 29-43).
moves to dismiss Team Toyota's claims for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 13). FEMA argues that it
is not a proper defendant because it did not issue Team
Toyota's Standard Flood Insurance Policies; New Hampshire
Insurance Company, as a write-your-own insurer, did. (Doc.
13-1). FEMA also argues that it enjoys sovereign immunity as
a federal agency and that the limited waiver set out in 42
U.S.C. § 4072 does not apply. (Id.).
Toyota opposes. (Doc. 14). It admits that New Hampshire
Insurance Company issued the policies and adjusted the
claims, but it speculates that FEMA "may have played a
role in the rejection of Team Toyota's claims."
(Id. at p. 2). It does not argue that FEMA
"disallowed" its claims under 42 U.S.C. §
4072. (Id. at pp. 1-4).
Courtis a court of limited jurisdiction. See Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
Because Team Toyota invokes that jurisdiction, it bears the
burden of proving it. See Glass v. Paxton, 900 F.3d
233, 238 (5th Cir. 2018). In determining its jurisdiction,
the Court may consider "(1) the complaint alone, (2) the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the
record, or (3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts
plus the [C]ourt's resolution of disputed facts."
Carroll v. Abide, 788 F.3d 502, 504 (5th Cir. 2015)
FEMA is Not a Proper Defendant
created the National Flood Insurance Program when it enacted
the National Flood Insurance Act. See 42 U.S.C. § 4001.
FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Program. See 42
U.S.C. § 4011(a). As administrator of that program, FEMA
created another-the Write Your Own (WYO) program. See 42
C.F.R. §§ 62.23-62.24. The WYO program allows a
private insurer, like New Hampshire Insurance Company, to
issue a Standard Flood Insurance Policy in its own name. See
44 C.F.R. § 62.23. FEMA dictates the terms of such
policies, 44 ...