May 05th, 2022
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Turner v. GoAuto Insurance
Opinion Date: May 2, 2022
Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Insurance Law, Personal Injury
Plaintiff filed a petition for damages in the 19th Judicial District Court in East Baton Rouge Parish. Plaintiff totaled his car in an accident and alleged that GoAuto, his car insurance carrier, paid less in policy benefits than his policy and Louisiana law required. GoAuto filed its notice of removal, Plaintiff received permission from the Louisiana court to amend his complaint again and, as accepted on appeal, filed the amended complaint. This amendment changed the definition of the class from class “residents of Louisiana” to class “citizens of Louisiana.” After removal, the parties filed several competing motions disputing which complaint controlled and the sufficiency of GoAuto’s notice of
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order remanding the case to state court, finding that Defendant is a citizen of Louisiana and thus the suit lacks the minimal diversity necessary to vest a federal court with jurisdiction. The court declined Defendant’s request to disregard the Louisiana state court’s pre-removal procedural rulings applying Louisiana law and substituted its own Erie guesses at how a Louisiana court ought to rule on a motion to amend a pleading.
Further, in regards to Defendant’s argument that it is plausible that some class members are not citizens of Louisiana, the court held that none of these individuals, assuming they had relocated to Colorado, Texas, or Florida before the filing of the complaint, qualify as citizens of Louisiana. Finally, the court held that Defendant points to nothing in the text of the statute that would bar Plaintiff’s class definition.
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