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Lynn v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, PA.

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia

July 11, 2017

CAROLYN PATRICIA LYNN, as Administrator of the Estate of Milton Lynn, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA., Defendant.

          ORDER

          Hon. Lisha Godbey Wood, Judge

         For the reasons below, this case cannot be remanded.

         Background

         Lynn Sues National Union in State Court for Allegedly Breaching Insurance Contracts

         Plaintiff Carolyn Patricia Lynn sued Defendant National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. ("National Union")[1] in the Superior Court of Glynn County on November 10, 2016. Dkt. No. 1-2 at 9. She alleged that her late husband, Milton, had fallen on October 26, 2013. Id. at 9-10 ¶¶ 2, 7.

         He went to the hospital and developed cellulitis, an abscess, and sepsis. Id. at 10 ¶ 9. The sepsis contributed to kidney failure, leading .to dialysis and more hospitalizations. Id. at ¶¶ 9-10. On April 17, 2014, Milton's leg was amputated; thereafter, he "was admitted to the hospital on many occasions." Id. ¶¶ 11-12. Milton died from the injuries and complications on October 27, 2015. Id. ¶ 13.

         National Union allegedly insured Milton, but "did not pay [him] all that was due to him under his . . . contract." Id. at 10-11 ¶¶ 14, 16. The complaint therefore alleged breach of contract. Id. at 11 ¶¶ 18, 20.

         Lynn Calculates Damages and National Union Removes

         Lynn sent discovery demands on November 7, 2016. Id. at 15, 28. She sought "[a] copy of any insurance policy and any renewals covering the incident complained of." Id. at 27 ¶ 3.

         National Union responded on January 13, 2017. Id. at 69, 79. It named four policies issued to Milton. Id. at 67 ¶ 13. As for why it did not think they applied, National Union referred Lynn to eleven denial letters it produced. Id. at 68 ¶ 15.

         On April 11, 2017, the parties jointly moved the Superior Court to extend discovery, partly "to allow [Lynn] to review the information and documents produced - such that the Parties could clarify [Lynn's] claims and discuss an early resolution of the case." Id. at 84 ¶ 6.

         National Union sent its first interrogatories on May 25, 2017. Id. at 104. It asked Lynn to "identify each claim for which [she] contend[s] National Union erroneously failed to provide coverage, " including "the applicable policy" and "the amount [she] contend[s] is owed for the claim." Id. at 101 ¶ 15.

         On June 6, 2017, the parties jointly moved to continue the trial and extend discovery. Id. at 117. They explained that National Union had sought information from Lynn "regarding which claims [Lynn] believed were improperly denied and, as [Lynn] was a named insured under several policies, which policies [Lynn] believed to be applicable." Id. at 118 ¶ 5. Lynn needed discovery from National Union to "clarify" this. Id. ¶ 7. As of May 11, 2017, the parties claimed, they had realized that "the factual and legal issues were significantly more complex than initially contemplated, " and that "the amount of damages sought by [Lynn] remain[ed] unclear and undetermined." Id. at 120 ¶¶ 15-16.

         Finally, on June 23, 2017, Lynn responded to National Union's discovery demands. Dkt. No. 1-12 at 25. Relevantly here, to "identify each claim for which [she] contend[s] National Union erroneously failed to provide coverage, " Lynn simply stated, "Plaintiff refers to eleven denial letters [she] received from Defendant." Id. at 21. For the first time in Superior ...


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