COURT REITERATES THAT NEITHER OPPOSING PARTY’S PLEADING OR ELECTION OF LIABILITY CAN CREATE DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP
A federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of Texas recently remanded a case back to state court after a defendant insurance company was unable to sufficiently allege diversity of citizenship—despite its citation to the plaintiff’s petition in Martinez v. Trisura Specialty Insurance Company, 1:21-CV-183, 2022 WL 887222 (E.D. Tex., July 13, 2022).
In March 2021, San Juana Martinez filed a lawsuit in state court in Jefferson County, Texas against his insurance company, Trisura Specialty Insurance Company, and an independent adjusting company, Wellington Claim Service, Inc. Trisura filed a notice of removal, alleging that it was an Oklahoma company, Martinez was a Texas resident, and “Defendant Wellington Claim Service, Inc. is listed in Plaintiff’s Original Petition as residing in Texas.” (A Google-search demonstrates that Wellington is a Texas-based company). The Eastern District magistrate judge was unimpressed and without prompting ordered Trisura to “distinctly and affirmatively allege the citizenship of all parties to this lawsuit” (emphasis in original). The magistrate judge also noted that similarly, a defendant’s election of liability cannot make a case removable. There is no indication in the record that Trisura complied with the court’s order to amend its notice of removal.
Mr. Martinez moved to remand the case, and Trisura responded, but the magistrate recommended remand, and the Court adopted the recommendation this week.