Friday, February 23, 2007

Firemen's Insurance Co v. Komatsu America Corp. (Maryland U.S.D.C.) (Not Approved for Publication)

Signed February 22, 2007. Memorandum opinion and order by Judge J. Frederick Motz. (Not approved for publication.)

The plaintiff ("Firemen's") brought suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for its own use and for the use of two employees who were seriously injured while working for a company insured by Firemen's, against various corporations and firms alleged to have been responsible for the accident. Defendants had removed the case to the federal district court on the basis of alleged diversity of citizenship of the parties.

The judge noted that Firemen's and two of the defendants are Delaware corporations and two of the other defendants were Delaware limited liability companies, and thus there was no apparent diversity. Defendants argued that the citizenship of a "partial subrogee" such as Firemen's should not be considered, but the judge distinguished the 4th Circuit's Virginia Elec. & Power Co. case, in which, unlike the instant case, the insured rather than the insurer/subrogee had initiated the case, and granted Firemen's motion to remand.

Acknowledging that it was "a close one," the judge declined to award Firemen's the costs and expenses it had incurred because of the removal, since Firemen's was in a financial position to pay its own costs and expenses, and resolving the issue of attorney fees might result in a delay in the remand to the Circuit Court of Baltimore City.

The opinion and order are available in PDF.

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