The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR MARRERO, District Judge
In this diversity action, plaintiff Preferred Medical Imaging, P.C.
("Preferred"), an MRI provider, alleges that defendant Allstate Insurance
Company ("Allstate") unlawfully denied sixty auto insurance claims,
pertaining to forty auto accidents, in which the claimants had received
MRIs from Preferred. The claims range from about $900 to about $2,700 and
total over $100,000. Preferred's complaint asserts a single cause of
action for the wrongful denial of all of these apparently unrelated
claims. The complaint contains a spreadsheet rider with the names of the
claimants. Because these claims are distinct and do not individually meet
the jurisdictional threshold, the Court dismisses the action, without
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3) the Court
has the authority to sua sponte dismiss an action in
which it appears the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See
Bernstein v. Universal Pictures. Inc., 517 F.2d 976, 979 (2d Cir.
1975). The Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over diversity
cases in which the amount in controversy is $75,000 or less.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (a).
This case involves several distinct auto accidents and claims. Notably,
the complaint does not allege that the claims involved similar facts, nor
does it allege that Allstate denied the claims on the same or similar
bases. Although a party may assert any number of claims against a single
defendant in the same lawsuit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18
(a), the Court may also sever those claims under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 21. In considering whether to sever claims under Rule 21, the
Court considers "(1) whether the claims arise out of the same transaction
or occurrence; (2) whether the claims present some common questions of
law or fact; (3) whether settlement of the claims or judicial economy
would be facilitated; (4) whether prejudice would be avoided if severance
were granted; and (5) whether different witnesses and documentary proof
are required for the separate claims." See In re Merrill Lynch &
Co., Inc. Research Reports Sees. Litig., 214 F.R.D. 152, 154-55
(S.D.N.Y. 2003). Under those standards, this case is a prime candidate
for severance, which
would reduce the amount in controversy for each separate action
well below the jurisdictional threshold.
The Court recognizes that this case is in the very early stages of
litigation, and will therefore dismiss the case without prejudice, so as
to allow Preferred to re-file a complaint which sets forth some theory
under which the Court has jurisdiction.
ORDERED that this case is dismissed, without prejudice.
The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
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