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United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
January 11, 2022, Decided; January 11, 2022, Entered on Docket
Case No. 1:21-cv-22543-KMM
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
THIS CAUSE came before the Court upon Defendant Ironshore Specialty Insurance Company's ("Defendant" or "Ironshore") Motion to Dismiss. ("Mot.") (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff Claire Ceballos and Plaintiff Cesar Ceballos ("Plaintiffs") filed a response. ("Resp.") (ECF No. 9). Defendant filed a reply. ("Reply") (ECF No. 12). The Motion is now ripe for review.
Plaintiffs purchased homeowner's insurance from Defendant for their home. Compl. ¶¶ 4-5. The insurance policy ("Policy") is an "all-risk" policy that covers all loss or damage unless the Policy expressly excludes the loss from coverage or the loss results from willful misconduct. Id. ¶ 5. The coverage limit for the Policy is $1,500,000. Id. ¶ 6. The Policy incorporates all Florida statutes into the Policy. Id. ¶ 11.
On or about September 14, 2017, a fire caused the "utter destruction" of Plaintiffs' [*2] home. Id. ¶ 7. The home was determined to be a "complete loss" and was subsequently demolished. Id. Plaintiffs timely filed a claim with Defendant seeking coverage under the Policy. Id. ¶ 8. "Despite insuring the home for $1,500,000, charging a premium for $1,500,000 in coverage, and knowing that the entire building had been demolished, Ironshore determined the building could be repaired or replaced' for [$]1,282,493.40. Ironshore also withheld $116,490.25 in depreciation." Id. ¶ 9. However, Plaintiffs allege that the property would cost, at a minimum, $1,500,000 to repair or replace. Id. ¶ 10.
On June 2, 2021, Plaintiffs filed the instant action in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida. Id. at 1. Therein, Plaintiffs bring two separate claims against Defendant in connection with the above-stated allegations. In Count I, Plaintiffs bring an action for declaratory relief, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 86 and the Court's general equity powers to declare Plaintiffs' rights and obligations. Id. ¶¶ 23-34. Specifically, Plaintiffs seek a declaration that Florida's Value Policy Law ("VPL"), codified at Fla. Stat. § 627.702, requires Defendant to pay the full policy limit in the event [*3] of a total loss. Id. In Count II, Plaintiffs assert a breach of contract claim principally arising from Defendant's alleged failure to "properly and fully" pay the amount due to Plaintiffs. Id. ¶¶ 35-41. Additionally, Plaintiffs contend that they are entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee to be paid by Defendant, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 627.428. Id. ¶¶ 10, 41.
On July 16, 2021, Defendant removed this action to federal court pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 1141 and 1146. Notice of Removal ("Not. of Removal") (ECF No. 1) at 1-2. Defendant is incorporated in Arizona and has its principal place of business in Massachusetts. Id. at 2. Plaintiffs are citizens of the State of Florida and maintain their domicile in Pinecrest, Florida and/or Miami, Florida. Id. In the Notice of Removal, Defendant informs the Court that Plaintiffs are seeking "$217,506.60 (the difference between the policy limits of $1,500,000 and the amount paid by Ironshore, $1,282,493.40) plus $116,490.25 (the depreciation that was withheld by Ironshore) for a total of $333,996.85[.]" Id. at 3. ] Thus, Defendant has properly invoked the Court's diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. See Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 574 U.S. 81, 87-88, 135 S. Ct. 547, 190 L. Ed. 2d 495 (2014) (holding that "a defendant's notice of removal need include only a plausible allegation [*4] that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold"). Plaintiffs have not challenged removal jurisdiction.
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2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5316 *; 2022 WL 17037693
CLAIRE CEBALLOS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. IRONSHORE SPECIALITY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
insurers, surplus, lines, coverage, allegations, bad faith, Reply, breach of contract claim, declaratory relief, duplicative, cause of action, unauthorized, adjust, courts, declaratory judgment, declaration, damages, statutory framework, motion to dismiss, total loss, eligible, Removal, reasons
Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Amount in Controversy, Diversity Jurisdiction, Amount in Controversy, Determination, Removal, Procedural Matters, Notice of Removal, Specific Cases Removed, Diversity of Citizenship, Challenges, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Motions to Strike, Immaterial Matters, Irrelevant Matters, Scandalous Matters, Redundant Matters, Declaratory Judgments, Federal Declaratory Judgments, Scope of Declaratory Judgments, State Declaratory Judgments, Grounds for Relief, Insurance Law, Types of Insurance, Property Insurance, Coverage, Business & Corporate Compliance, Insurance Company Operations, Policy Forms Regulation, Approval of Forms, Agents, Types, General Agents, Conducting Business, Surplus Lines Insurers, Coverage, Hurricanes & Tornadoes, Property Damage, Real Property, Loss Calculation, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Liability & Performance Standards, Bad Faith & Extracontractual Liability, Elements of Bad Faith, Settlements, Policy Coverage, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, Third Party Claims, Contracts Law, Breach, Breach of Warranty, Torts, Products Liability, Theories of Liability