Why will an insurance company take your case to federal court?
Some insurance companies believe that “removing” a case to federal court means they might get a better outcome there. In personal injury cases, venue (where your case will be heard) often plays an important role in your case. There can be a whole stage devoted to motion practice on whether or not a Court has jurisdiction. Parties do this because some courts and venues are seen as “more favorable” to one party than the other.
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When suing an insurance company, what is “removal?”
Put simply, removal means quite literally taking a case that is pending in state court and “removing” it to federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1446 governs removal in a civil case. Defendants need to file in the district court of the United States a notice of removal with a short statement of why the case will be removed to federal court. This needs to be done within thirty days once the Defendant is served. Notice of the removal must be filed with the appropriate state court and all attorneys of record. Once the Notice of Removal is appropriately filed with the State Court, the State Court must take no further action in the case as it no longer has jurisdiction over the case. A common grounds for removal in personal injury cases is “diversity.”
What does it mean when an insurance company states the grounds for removal are based on “diversity?”
The law that governs removal based on diversity is 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Diversity requires that the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The action must also be between citizens of different states, a citizen of a foreign country, or a foreign country itself. It is important to note that citizenship must be completely different on both sides. For example, an Illinois Citizen sues a Delaware Citizen and an Illinois Citizen for $100,000. Here, the federal court will not accept removal because there is a Plaintiff and Defendant that shares citizenship. Now, if it was an Illinois Citizen suing a Delaware Citizen for $100,000, then diversity would be proper. This concept is known as complete diversity.
The amount or matter in controversy is a loose and ambiguous term when it comes to diversity in personal injury cases. When evaluating whether removal was proper, the reviewing federal court will look to pleadings, the claimed ad damnum amount (meaning the amount for pain and suffering), and other factors at the time of removal.
Why do insurance companies remove cases?
The Defendant removes because it thinks the venue of a district court would be better for the case. This can be because a district court has access to a wider jury pool as well as fear of bias or prejudice. In Illinois, trial court judges face elections. Some insurance companies fear that these elections may sway or influence the judge’s rulings when it comes to an out of state corporation. This is despite the oath that judges will honor the law and the constitution. On the contrary, district court judges hold the bench for life because they are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Insurance companies feel that this makes federal judges more immune to public backlash in controversial cases. Lastly, in removal cases, federal procedural rules are used instead of state court cases.
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What happens if you sue an insurance company?
In many cases, insurance companies (the defendants) will try to remove to federal court because they think the judges will be fairer and that the rules will help facilitate their litigation strategy. In order to properly remove cases based on diversity, the Defense must follow certain rules in a short amount of time. Once a case is properly removed, the state court will no longer hear the case. The case will now be pending in front of the federal judge in whatever district you are currently living in.
Can I sue the insurance company myself?
Taking on a large insurance company by yourself can be overwhelming. The facts that are specific and unique to your situation will determine whether you are entitled to compensation under the law and whether you can recover monetary damages. It is important to contact the experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers in our office soon because under Illinois law, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. We know injuries are incredibly stressful, so please read the positive reviews on our Google page and see how we’ve helped countless others handle similar injuries. If you have questions about federal court or were injured due to someone’s negligence, do not hesitate to reach out to us at the Kryder Law Group by phone at 312-223-1700, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the interactive chat client on our website for a free and confidential consultation.