United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Strickland (“Plaintiff”) has sued Liberty Mutual
Insurance Co., The First Liberty Insurance Corp.
(“Liberty Mutual”), and Spans Systems, Inc.
(“Span”) (collectively “Defendants”).
Specifically, Mr. Strickland alleges that Liberty Mutual
engaged in an unfair business practice in violation of the
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”),
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110, and the Connecticut Unfair
Insurance Practices Act (“CUIPA”), Conn. Gen.
Stat. § 38a-816. Mr. Strickland also alleges that
Defendants have engaged in tortious conduct in violation of
state common law.
the Court sua sponte finds it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this lawsuit, the case is remanded to
Connecticut Superior Court. Defendants' motion to dismiss
therefore is DENIED as moot.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Strickland worked as a steel worker for Span. Compl. ¶ 6,
ECF No. 1-1. Span allegedly maintained a worker's
compensation policy (“Policy”) with Liberty
Mutual, Defs.' Br. at 4, ECF No. 22, which, as a result
of Mr. Strickland's employment with Span, made him an
“insured, covered party, and/or third party
beneficiary” under the Policy. Compl. ¶ 10.
March 27, 2014, while working for Span, Mr. Strickland
allegedly suffered a work-related injury, requiring surgical
repair. Compl. ¶ 13. Mr. Strickland allegedly sustained
the injury while on a job at The Levitt Pavilion for the
Performing Arts construction project, located in Connecticut.
Id. ¶ 12. Mr. Strickland allegedly reported the
work-related injury to Span, and Span, in turn, relayed the
report to Liberty Mutual. Id. ¶ 14.
following day, Span's insurer, Liberty
Mutual-“despite being fully aware that Mr. Strickland
was injured on the job in Westport[, ] Connecticut, that Mr.
Strickland resided in Connecticut, and that he received his
medical treatment in Connecticut”-allegedly instructed
Mr. Strickland to sign paperwork Liberty Provided to him to
him for the purpose of filing a workers' compensation
claim. Id. ¶¶ 15, 17. Mr. Strickland
allegedly signed the paperwork, and Liberty Mutual allegedly
filed Mr. Strickland's worker's compensation claim
with New Hampshire's Department of Labor. Id.
¶ 16-17. “[Liberty] thereafter adjusted,
evaluated, and/or processed [Mr. Strickland's] claim
under New Hampshire law.” Id. ¶ 18.
Mutual's conduct allegedly compelled Mr. Strickland to
hire an attorney licensed in New Hampshire to handle the
jurisdictional issues caused by Defendant. Id.
¶ 26. The Complaint asserts that Liberty Mutual
knowingly and deliberately deprived Mr. Strickland of the
proper jurisdiction so as to gain an unfair advantage over
Mr. Strickland. Id. ¶ 23(b). It also maintains
that Liberty Mutual “engages in . . . unscrupulous
conduct to deny benefits to similarly situated insureds,
covered parties, and/or third party beneficiaries with such
frequency as to indicate a general business practice.”
Id. ¶ 25.
September 19, 2014, Mr. Strickland allegedly filed a notice
of claim with the Connecticut Workers' Compensation
Commission regarding his work-related injury. Id.
¶ 20. The Complaint claims that, approximately two
months later, Liberty Mutual conceded and acknowledged that
Connecticut was the proper jurisdiction over the Mr.
Strickland's claim and voluntarily moved Mr.
Strickland's claim to Connecticut. Id. ¶
22. The Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission then
asserted jurisdiction over Mr. Strickland's claim.
Id. ¶ 20.
Strickland filed a complaint in Connecticut Superior Court,
Judicial District of New Haven against Defendants. See
generally Compl. Mr. Strickland alleged seven total
counts; both Liberty Mutual entities face identical counts:
bad faith (counts 1 and 4); violation of CUTPA/CUIPA (counts
2 and 5); and civil fraud (counts 3 and 6). The Complaint
also alleges Defendants engaged in a civil conspiracy (count
7). Mr. Strickland seeks money damages, both compensatory and
punitive, and attorneys' fees. Compl. ¶ 27. p. 20.
Mr. Strickland seeks damages in excess of $15, 000.00,
exclusive of interests and costs. Compl. at 21.
Mutual removed to this Court on April 26, 2017. ECF No. 1.
Mutual has moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to