United States District Court, W.D. New York
WILLIAM P. POLITO, Plaintiff,
THE HANOVER INSURANCE GROUP, INC. d/b/a The Hanover Insurance Group, 440 Lincoln Street Worcester MA 01653, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action involves a contractual dispute over a homeowner's
insurance policy. Defendant removed the action to this Court
on the basis of diversity. Now before the Court is
Plaintiff's motion to remand the action to state court.
(Docket No. [#4]). The application is granted and the action
is remanded to New York State Supreme Court, Monroe County.
is suing in connection with a homeowner's insurance
policy bearing the “policy number” HNS
A661560. The policy documents bear the heading
“The Hanover Insurance Group, ” and indicates
that “COVERAGE IS PROVIDED IN THE THE [SIC] HANOVER
INSURANCE COMPANY.” In connection with the policy,
which includes the statement:
(including any applicable state-specific policies) or our
online privacy statement, or if you would like to request
information we have on file, please write to us at our
Privacy Office, N435, The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., 440
Lincoln Street, Worcester, MA 01653. Please provide your
complete name, address and policy number(s). A copy of our
Producer Compensation Disclosure is also available upon
written request addressed to the attention of the Corporate
Secretary, N435, The Hanover Insurance Group, 440 Lincoln
Street, Worcester MA 01653.
This notice is being provided on behalf of the following
Hanover Companies: The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. --
Allmerica Financial Alliance Insurance Company - Allmerica
Financial Benefit Insurance Company - Allmerica Plus
Insurance Agency, Inc. -- Citizens Insurance Company of
America - Citizens Insurance Company of Illinois --Citizens
Insurance Company of the Midwest - Citizens Insurance Company
of Ohio - Citizens Management, Inc. -- AIX Ins. Services of
California, Inc. -- Campania Insurance Agency Co. Inc.
--Campmed Casualty & Indemnity Co. Inc. -- Chaucer
Syndicates Limited - Educators Insurance Agency, Inc. --
Hanover Specialty Insurance Brokers, Inc. -- The Hanover
American Insurance Company - The Hanover Insurance Company
--The Hanover New Jersey Insurance Company - The Hanover
National Insurance Company - Hanover Lloyd's Insurance
Company - Massachusetts Bay Insurance Company - Opus
Investment Management, Inc. -- Professionals Direct Insurance
Services, Inc. -- Professional Underwriters Agency, Inc. --
Verlan Fire Insurance Company - Nova Casualty Company - AIX
Specialty Insurance Company.
Plaintiff's home suffered water damage purportedly due to
a plumbing leak, Plaintiff received correspondence from both
Hanover Insurance Group and Hanover Insurance Company. For
example, Plaintiff received a letter, on stationery from
“The Hanover Insurance Group, ” signed by
“Jaime Mackay Outside Property Adjuster Hanover
Insurance Company.” Plaintiff also received correspondence
from “Dionysi McGowan, AIC-M, AINS, AIS, WRT/ASD Field
Property Claims Unit Manager, The Hanover Insurance Group 440
Lincoln Street PO Box 15147 Worcester MA
01615.” Additionally, before commencing this
action, Plaintiff sent a copy of his proposed pleading to
“The Hanover Insurance Group, ” at 440 Lincoln
Street, PO Box 15147 Worcester, MA 01615.
March 7, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this action in New York
State Supreme Court, Monroe County. The Complaint indicates
that Plaintiff is a resident of New York. Regarding
Defendant's citizenship, the Complaint states:
Upon information and belief, Defendant, The Defendant Hanover
Insurance Group Inc., d/b/a The Hanover Insurance Group
(herein, “Defendant” or “Defendant
Hanover” or “The Insurer”) is a Holding
Corporation for several property insurance companies, the
relevant one of which is the Hanover Insurance Company, and
are New York Insurance Companies [sic] with principal places
of business located in New York, and in Massachusetts at 440
Lincoln Street, Worcester MA, 01653.
Complaint at ¶ 2. The Complaint purports to assert the
following causes of action: 1) Breach of Contract; 2)
Declaratory Judgment; 3) Breach of Contract - Breach of
Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; and 4)
Breach of Contract - Breach of New York State Statutory
Standard of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. The
Complaint demands, inter alia, $25, 000 in compensatory
damages on the First Cause of Action; $50, 000 in punitive
damages on the Third Cause of Action; and $50, 000 in
punitive damages on the Fourth Cause of Action. Attached to
the Complaint are various exhibits (Exhibits A-D(2)),
including a copy of the subject homeowner's policy.
March 16, 2018, Plaintiff attempted to have the Summons and
Complaint served through the Office of the New York Secretary
of State, pursuant to Section 306 of the Business Corporation
Law. The form that Plaintiff used to request such service
indicated that the “entity or person to be
served” was “HANOVER SPECIALTY INSURANCE BROKERS,
INC., ” whose agent was “CT CORPORATION SYSTEM
111 EIGHTH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
10011.” It appears that the New York Secretary of
State, Division of Corporations, gave notice of such service
to CT Corporation System, which in turn notified its
principal, Hanover Specialty Insurance Brokers, Inc., which
in turn notified Hanover Insurance Company.
1, 2018, a “Petition for Removal” was filed by
“Hanover Insurance Company.” In that regard,
Hanover Insurance Company describes itself as
“Defendant, Hanover Insurance Company, incorrectly sued
herein as ‘The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., d/b/a The
Hanover Insurance Group.'” The purported basis for
removing the action is diversity of citizenship. In
particular, the Petition for Removal indicates that Plaintiff
is a citizen of New York, while Hanover Insurance Company is
a New Hampshire corporation with its principal place of
business in Massachusetts.
removal took place 46 days after the Summons and Complaint
were served on the New York Secretary of State. Nevertheless,
Hanover Insurance Company contends that removal is timely,
because it occurred within 30 days of the date Hanover
Insurance Company actually received notice of the lawsuit.
Hanover Insurance Company further suggests that the delay in
removing the action “perhaps” may be attributable
to Plaintiff having purportedly mis-identified Hanover
Insurance Company as “The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc.
d/b/a The Hanover Insurance Group, ” rather than
“Hanover Insurance Company”:
Plaintiff's summons and complaint were served on the New
York Secretary of State, as the statutory agent of Hanover
Specialty Insurance Brokers, Inc., on March 16, 2018[.] . . .
Perhaps due to the plaintiff's misidentification of the
proper insurance defendant, Hanover Insurance Company did not
receive the summons and complaint, however, until April 6,
2018. A copy of the April 6, 2018 email Hanover received from
its process agent, CT Corporation, is attached[.] As such,
removal of this action is timely under 28 U.S.C. §
1446(b)(1), as made within 30 days of the ...