Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hall v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of America

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

March 1, 2019

ROBERT L. HALL, M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
UNUM LIFE INS. CO. OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff 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 remand (#22).

         “Subject 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.

         The 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

         BENEFITS

         Beginning 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 effect; and
b. Began before the policy anniversary when your age was 60 and has been continuous until the month for which this benefit is payable.

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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).

         “In 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.