EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS DENIES INSURED’S MOTION FOR REMAND AND DISMISSES THIRD-PARTY ADJUSTING COMPANY FROM LAWSUIT

May 9, 2013

This past week, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied a plaintiff insured’s Motion for Remand. In Holmes v. Acceptances Casualty Insurance Company, No. 1:12-CV-584, 2013 WL 1819693 (E.D. Tex. April 23, 2013), Plaintiff sued the insurer and its third-party adjusting company for common law fraud, negligence, breach of contract, and multiple violations of the DTPA and Texas Insurance Code for alleged damages to the Plaintiff’s home arising from a fire. The insurer removed the lawsuit to federal court on the basis that diversity exists among the real parties of interest and that the third-party adjusting company was improperly joined for purposes of defeating federal jurisdiction. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion to Remand the case back to state court.

In her well written opinion, Judge Crone determined that the allegations against the adjusting company were conclusory, and they failed to allege any specific conduct that could support a claim for relief under the Texas Insurance Code and DTPA. The Court determined that the plaintiff failed to put the defendants on fair notice of the allegations against them, and the facts, as alleged against the defendants merely parroted provisions of the Texas Insurance Code. The Court also noted that the plaintiff failed to allege any facts against the adjusting company individually, and ultimately failed to meet the liberal pleading standards recognized by Texas state courts. As such, the Court denied plaintiff’s Motion for Remand and dismissed the adjusting company from the lawsuit.