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Spine, PLLC v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 31, 2015

SPINE, PLLC, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, a foreign corporation, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR REMAND (DOC. #9)

GEORGE CARAM STEEH, District Judge.

Plaintiff Spine, PLLC, a Michigan professional limited liability company, seeks to remand this first-party, healthcare provider no-fault action to the Wayne County Circuit Court on the grounds that the court lacks diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1), the direct action provision. For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Otis McCary, a Michigan resident, suffered injuries after his involvement in a motor vehicle accident on April 29, 2012. McCary was insured through Defendant Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, an Ohio company. Compl. at ¶ 6.

From June through October 2014, McCary treated for spinal injuries with plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 5. Plaintiff rendered spinal services to McCary valued at $90, 754.00. Id. at ¶ 8.

Plaintiff filed this healthcare provider action against defendant in Wayne County Circuit Court seeking personal injury protection ("PIP") benefits for services it rendered to McCary. Plaintiff claims that McCary provided reasonable proof of his injuries, but defendant unreasonably refused to pay medical benefits, in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 500.3142 and 500.3148. Defendant removed the action to this court. Plaintiff seeks to remand to the Wayne County Circuit Court arguing that the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

To determine whether an action is properly removed, the court looks to the complaint at the time of removal. Ahearn v. Charter Twp. of West Bloomfield, 100 F.3d 451, 453 (6th Cir. 1996). "Removing defendants bear the burden of establishing federal subject-matter jurisdiction." Id. (citations omitted). For proper removal based on diversity of citizenship, the action must be between citizens of different states, and the amount in controversy must exceed "the sum or value of $75, 000." 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

III. LAW AND ANALYSIS

In seeking remand to the Wayne County Circuit Court, plaintiff does not challenge that this dispute involves in excess of "the sum or value of $75, 000." Plaintiff argues that, under the direct action provision [28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1)], the case must be remanded because there is no diversity of citizenship.

28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) states,

a corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of every State and foreign state by which it has been incorporated and of the State or foreign state where it has its principal place of business, except that in any direct action against the insurer of a policy or contract of liability insurance, whether incorporated or unincorporated, to which action the insured is not joined as a party-defendant, such insurer shall be deemed a citizen of-
(A) every State and foreign state of which the insured is a citizen;
(B) every State and foreign state by which the insurer has been ...

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