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Humphries v. Allstate Insurance Co.

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

December 16, 2019

Damon P. Humphries, Plaintiff,
v.
Allstate Insurance Co., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL LIFTING OF STAY OF PROCEEDINGS AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO RE-TRANSFER CASE TO DISTRICT OF ARIZONA [#20]

          Hon. Gerswhin A. Drain, United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         On May 25, 2017, Plaintiff Angela Humphries (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action against Defendants Allstate Insurance Company and CorVel Corporation (“CorVel”), alleging breach of contract, bad faith, and aiding and abetting. See ECF No. 1. On March 27, 2018, this case was transferred to this Court after the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (“Arizona District Court”) determined that it did not have personal jurisdiction over Defendant Allstate Insurance Company (hereinafter, “Defendant”). See ECF No. 3. In its order, the Arizona District Court severed Plaintiff's claims against CorVel; those claims remain pending before that court. Id.

         Presently before this Court is Plaintiff's Motion For Partial Lifting of Stay of Proceedings and to Re-Transfer This Case to the District of Arizona, filed on September 9, 2019. ECF No. 20. Defendant filed a Response on September 20, 2019. ECF No. 21. Plaintiff filed her Reply on September 27, 2019. ECF No. 16.

         A hearing on Plaintiff's Motion was scheduled for December 13, 2019. After reviewing the parties' briefs, the Court finds that no hearing on the Motion is necessary. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT Plaintiff's Motion to partially lift the stay of proceedings which this Court previously entered on May 30, 2018 (ECF No. 16) in order to address the instant motion. Further, it is ordered that the Court will DENY Plaintiff's Motion to re-transfer this case to the District of Arizona.

         II. Factual Background

         On May 14, 1979, Plaintiff suffered permanent injuries from an automobile accident in Michigan. ECF No. 1, PageID.2. Plaintiff was a Michigan resident at the time of her accident. Id. Plaintiff suffered a severe brain injury, causing her to be hospitalized for roughly six months immediately after the accident. Id. Plaintiff's family now provides her with 24-hour care. ECF No.1, PageID.3. She continues to receive No-Fault benefits under the terms of her father's Michigan No-Fault insurance policy with Defendant. ECF No. 21, PageID.593.

         In 2004, Plaintiff sued Defendant in Oakland County Circuit Court, No. 05-067578, alleging breach of contract, fraud, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Id.; ECF No. 1, PageID.5. Plaintiff and Defendant (together, the “Parties”) settled the Michigan state court lawsuit in May 2006 and entered into an agreement regarding Plaintiff's attendant care from 2006 through 2016. ECF No. 21, PageID.594. The Parties' agreement included a provision where the hourly rate for Plaintiff's attendant would be adjusted yearly based on the consumer price index. ECF No. 1, PageID.5.

         Subsequent to the Parties' settlement, in 2010, Plaintiff and her family moved from Michigan to the Phoenix area in Arizona, where they continue to reside today. ECF No. 20, PageID.421. According to Defendant, its employees in Michigan continue to handle Plaintiff's claim. ECF No. 21, PageID.594.

         In early 2016, Defendant hired CorVel to assist it in adjusting the amount of daily attendant care paid under the Michigan No-Fault policy and Michigan No-Fault Act. Id. CorVel scheduled Plaintiff for an insurance medical exam with Dr. Barry Hendlin in March 2016. ECF No. 1, PageID.6. CorVel asked Dr. Hendlin to evaluate Plaintiff's “need for attendant care” and “the hours per day required and the type of provider required.” Id. According to Plaintiff, Defendant “actively ignored her Arizona treating physicians and intended to cut the hours and hourly rate, through the use of CorVel and Dr. Hendlin to justify its decision.” ECF No. 20, PageID.422.

         Plaintiff instituted this action on May 25, 2017 in the Arizona District Court following Defendant's adjustment of her claim. See ECF No. 1. Defendant then moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. See ECF No. 21, PageID.594. Plaintiff opposed the motion. See ECF No. 20-2, PageID.496. On March 27, 2018, the Arizona District Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss, severed Plaintiff's claims against Defendant from her claims against CorVel, and ordered the transfer of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant to this Court. ECF No. 3, PageID.595.

         Plaintiff did not seek reconsideration from the Arizona District Court's order. ECF No. 20, PageID.427. On May 8, 2018, she filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit, challenging the Arizona District Court's determination that it lacks general personal jurisdiction over Defendant. See ECF No. 14-1. On May 17, 2018, Plaintiff filed an emergency motion in this Court for a stay of proceedings pending the outcome of her petition. ECF No. 14. This Court granted Plaintiff's emergency motion on May 30, 2019. ECF No. 16. This case was administratively closed on that same day.

         On March 12, 2019, after holding oral argument, the Ninth Circuit denied Plaintiff's request. See ECF No. 20-2, PageID.590. The Ninth Circuit explained that this case failed to present “extraordinary circumstances involving a grave miscarriage of justice.” Id. (quoting NBS Imaging Sys., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 841 F.2d 297, 298 (9th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff sought reconsideration of the Ninth Circuit's decision en banc, but her request was denied on May 8, 2019. ECF No. 20, PageID.427. She did not seek certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States. Id.

         In her present Motion, Plaintiff asks this Court to partially lift the previously ordered stay of proceedings (ECF No. 16) and to re-transfer her case to the District of Arizona. Id. at PageID.438. She argues that this Court should find that the Arizona District Court committed “clear error” and that its decision “will [result in] manifest injustice.” Id. at PageID.417. Defendant opposed Plaintiff's Motion on September 20, 2019, asserting that Plaintiff's attempt to “collaterally attack both the Arizona District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals” should be denied. ECF No. 21, PageID.596. Plaintiff filed her Reply to Defendant's opposition on September 27, 2019. ECF No. 22.

         III. Law ...


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