United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Co.
(“Allied”) brought this declaratory judgment
action against defendant Megan Bresler seeking a judgment
that defendant is not entitled to underinsured motorist
coverage pursuant to the terms of defendant's insurance
contract with Allied. Plaintiff has moved to dismiss for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction (#15). The matter is fully
briefed and ready for disposition.
to the Complaint, this case arises out of a claim made by
defendant for underinsured motorist coverage pursuant to her
automotive insurance policy (“Policy”) with
Allied. Defendant was involved in an automobile accident on
October 26, 2015. She alleged that the other driver (the
“Tortfeasor”) involved in the accident was at
fault. Defendant recovered the $250, 000 policy limit of the
Tortfeasor's applicable insurance policy. She also
recovered the $1, 000, 000 limit of liability of the
insurance policy applicable to the vehicle she was driving at
the time of the accident. Defendant advised Allied that her
injuries exceeded the $250, 000 limit of liability of the
Tortfeasor's policy and that she is therefore entitled to
underinsured motorist coverage pursuant to her Policy.
Policy states that it offers “underinsured motorist
coverage” (“UIC”) and defines
“underinsured motor vehicle” as a vehicle which
is subject to an insurance policy which has a “limit
for bodily injury liability…less than the limit of
liability for this coverage.” The Policy's limit of
liability for UIC is $100, 000. Plaintiff Allied states that
the Tortfeasor's insurance limit of liability is $250,
000, which is more than the $100, 000 limit of liability of
UIC under defendant's Policy. Plaintiff thus claims that
the Tortfeasor was not driving an underinsured motor vehicle
and that defendant is not entitled to UIC as a result.
has moved to dismiss plaintiff's claim for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) requires dismissal of a case
in the even the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The
same standard governs motions to dismiss under both Rules
12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Vankempen v. McDonnell Douglas
Corp., 923 F.Supp. 146, 147 (E.D.Mo.1996) (citing
Satz v. ITT Fin. Corp., 619 F.2d 738, 742 (8th
Cir.1980)); see also Arnold v. Hoelscher,
1:10-CV-187 SNLJ, 2011 WL 1226901, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 30,
asserts this Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a) because there is complete diversity of
citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy
is in “exceeds… $75, 000, exclusive of interests
and costs.” As the party invoking this Court's
jurisdiction, plaintiff has the burden of establishing such
jurisdiction exists. See Mountaire Feeds, Inc. v. Argro
Impex, S.A., 677 F.2d 651, 653 n. 3 (8th Cir. 1982). A
Court must dismiss a case if it finds to a legal certainty
that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000.
See State of Missouri ex rel. Pemiscot Co., Mo. v.
Western Sur. Co., 51 F.3d 170, 173 (8th Cir. 1995).
insists the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000
and that the Court lacks jurisdiction as a result. Plaintiff
states that the amount in controversy is $100, 000, or the
amount of the UIC limits of liability contained in the
insurance policy. Plaintiff insists that because the Policy
states that this limit of liability is reduced by the amount
of insurance the underinsured motorist has at the time of the
accident, and Missouri requires a minimum of $25, 000 in
automobile liability insurance, then it is a legal certainty
that the amount in controversy does not exceed $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs.
plaintiff insists that the setoff is not at issue because it
will not be litigated. Rather, the matter of whether the
Tortfeasor's vehicle is a “underinsured motor
vehicle” will be litigated. Plaintiff notes that even
if this Court did consider the setoff, the setoff in this
case would be $250, 000 --- the Tortfeasor's insurance
policy's limit of liability ---and the Policy limit of
liability is thus $0, not $75, 000.
matter is not entirely one of first impression for this
Court. In Brew v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Illinois, No.
4:15cv970TCM, 2015 WL 4715295, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 7, 2015),
this Court addressed a similar issue. There, the plaintiff
was the policy holder who sought $100, 000 underinsured
motorist coverage. The defendant insurance company had
included as an affirmative defense that it was entitled to a
setoff of the $25, 000 the plaintiff had received from the
other driver's insurer. Id. at *2-3. The
plaintiff thus sought remand of her lawsuit back to state
court because she said the $75, 000 amount-in-controversy
requirement was not met. Indeed, the $100, 000 UIM coverage
minus the $25, 000 setoff did not satisfy the
“exceeds…$75, 000” jurisdictional
requirement. However, this Court held that the insurance
company's “position that it is entitled to a setoff
does not negate, for purposes of diversity jurisdiction,
Plaintiff's claim that she should be awarded the full
amount of” UIM coverage provided by her policy.
Id. at *3. Here, the facts are inverted because it
is the plaintiff insurance company who seeks a declaratory
judgment that the claimant defendant is not entitled to $100,
000 in UIM proceeds; but the matter of a setoff is not at
issue in the litigation. The Policy's limits of liability
are $100, 000 and the Court considers that amount as the
amount in controversy for purposes of establishing diversity
motion to dismiss will be denied. Briefing shall resume on
plaintiff's pending motion for ...