United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
ROBERT L. HALL, M.D., Plaintiff,
UNUM LIFE INS. CO. OF AMERICA, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
brings breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay claims
against his Disability Income insurance policy provider,
defendant Unum Life Insurance Company of America. Defendant
removed this matter from state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332, 1441, and 1446. Plaintiff has moved to
matter jurisdiction asserted under 28 U.S.C. § 1332
requires an amount in controversy greater than $75, 000 and
complete diversity of citizenship among the
litigants….” Junk v. Terminix Intern.
Co., 628 F.3d 439, 445 (8th Cir. 2010). No party
contests that complete diversity exists. Rather, the parties
disagree regarding the amount in controversy.
plaintiff was employed as a surgeon. On May13, 1993, he took
out a Disability Income policy with defendant. The policy
contains a Lifetime Sickness Benefit Rider which states
on the later of the policy anniversary when your age is 65 or
the end of the Maximum Benefit Period, the Total Disability
Benefit is amended to read as follows:
We will pay the Maximum Disability Benefit in any month after
you have satisfied the Elimination Period that:
1. You are totally disabled; and
2. That total disability:
a. Is the result of sickness which began before the policy
anniversary when your age was 60 and while this rider was in
b. Began before the policy anniversary when your age was 60
and has been continuous until the month for which this
benefit is payable.
alleges that in June 2012, before he turned 60 years old, he
became disabled as a result of systemic contact dermatitis
and systemic inflammatory response syndrome. He contacted
defendant in November 2012, before turning 60, and advised
defendant that his sickness and disability began on June 1,
2012. Plaintiff alleges that, pursuant to the Lifetime
Sickness Benefit Rider, his benefit in the event of total
disability should have applied beginning on the policy
anniversary when plaintiff's age was 65. Plaintiff claims
defendant owes him payments of $9, 124 per month for his
lifetime, beginning December 2017. Plaintiff filed his
lawsuit on March 26, 2018.
filed the motion to remand because, he insists, the amount in
controversy does not exceed $75, 000. Where a complaint
alleges no specific amount of damages or an amount under the
jurisdictional minimum, the removing party must prove by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Bell v. Hershey Co., 557 F.3d 953,
956 (8th Cir. 2009); see also In re Minnesota Mut. Life
Ins. Co. Sales Practices Litig., 346 F.3d 830, 834 (8th
Cir. 2003). “To meet this burden, the defendant must
present some specific facts or evidence.” Harris v.
Transamerica Life Ins. Co., No. 4:14-cv-186 CEJ, 2014 WL
1316245, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 2, 2014) (internal quotation
marks omitted). “All doubts about federal jurisdiction
should be resolved in favor of remand to state court.”
Junk v. Terminix Int'l Co., 628 F.3d 439, 446
(8th Cir. 2010).
Missouri, when seeking damages based upon a breach of a
disability insurance policy, the plaintiff can recover, at
most, the unpaid installments claimed to have accrued to the
date of suit.” Umbenhower v. Mut. of Omaha Ins.
Co., 298 F.Supp. 927, 928 (W.D. Mo. 1969) (internal
quotations omitted). Even if this Court were ...