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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
October 2, 2020, Filed
[*594] Per Curiam:
This interlocutory appeal stems from the district court's denial of Plaintiff-Appellant Perfecto Valencia's motion to remand. We reverse and remand with instruction to remand to state court.
Valencia, a Texas resident, filed suit against Allstate Texas Lloyd's, Inc. ("Allstate Texas"), a Texas entity, in the 125th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. Valencia alleged that Allstate Texas had issued a homeowner's insurance policy to him covering real property located in Houston, Texas, and that the property sustained covered property damage in April 2015. Although the damage was reported and an insurance claim made, Allstate Texas allegedly failed to pay for the repairs for more than two years, during which time the property continued [**2] to suffer leaks that caused the growth of mold in the home. In October 2017, the property sustained further damage, the claim for which was denied in its entirety. Based on the foregoing factual allegations, Valencia sought damages for breach of contract and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Texas Insurance Code, the Texas Business and Commerce Code, and the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
Allstate Texas Lloyds ("Allstate Illinois"),1 rather than Allstate Texas, answered the petition and removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity [*595] jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(a) and 1441(b). Allstate Illinois alleged that it was a citizen of Illinois for jurisdictional purposes and that the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.
Valencia filed a motion to remand the matter to state court, contending that removal was improperly effectuated by a non-party to the case. Valencia explained that Allstate Illinois never claimed that it was misnamed or misidentified as Allstate Texas and never sought to join the case as a defendant, but rather unilaterally "changed the case caption without notifying the parties or the court" of its intention to defend the case. Valencia also stressed [**3] that diversity jurisdiction was lacking because the case, as originally filed, involved a plaintiff and a defendant with a common state of citizenship, viz., Texas. The motion was denied by the district court with little analysis. The district court subsequently denied Valencia's motion for reconsideration but certified the issue for interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). Valencia timely appealed.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
976 F.3d 593 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31452 **; 2020 WL 5867526
PERFECTO VALENCIA, Plaintiff—Appellant, versus ALLSTATE TEXAS LLOYD'S, Defendant—Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. USDC No. 4:19-cv-4595.
Valencia v. Allstate Tex. Lloyds, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40015, 2020 WL 1150098 (S.D. Tex., Mar. 9, 2020)
district court, federal court, subject matter jurisdiction, removal, state court, entity, parties, diversity jurisdiction, proper party, non-party
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Preliminary Considerations, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Removal, Specific Cases Removed, Diversity of Citizenship, Elements for Removal, Removability, Postremoval Remands, Jurisdictional Defects, Diversity Jurisdiction, Citizenship, Individuals, Proper Transferors, Federal Venue, Parties, Real Party in Interest