United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
AMBER RAE MCLAWHORN, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY, Defendant.
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court pursuant to Plaintiff Amber
McLawhorn's Motion to Remand (Doc. # 24), filed on
February 21, 2017. Defendant GEICO Indemnity Company
responded on April 3, 2017. (Doc. # 34). For the reasons that
follow, the Motion is granted.
purchased a car insurance policy from GEICO in February of
2012. (Doc. # 2 at ¶ 4). McLawhorn's policy did not
include bodily injury liability coverage, which all drivers
are required to carry by Florida's Financial
Responsibility Law, nor was the policy's notice, stating
that the policy does not provide such coverage, in the form
required by Section 627.7276, Florida Statutes. (Id.
at ¶¶ 9, 32-33). Section 627.7276 states:
(1) An automobile policy that does not contain coverage for
bodily injury and property damage must be clearly stamped or
printed to the effect that such coverage is not included in
the policy in the following manner:
“THIS POLICY DOES NOT PROVIDE BODILY INJURY AND
PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY INSURANCE OR ANY OTHER COVERAGE FOR
WHICH A SPECIFIC PREMIUM CHARGE IS NOT MADE, AND DOES NOT
COMPLY WITH ANY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LAW.”
(2) This legend must appear on the policy declaration page
and on the filing back of the policy and be printed in a
contrasting color from that used on the policy and in type
larger than the largest type used in the text thereof, as an
overprint or by a rubber stamp impression.
Fla. Stat. § 627.7276. “If GEICO had complied with
the notice requirements under Section 627.7276 . . .
[McLawhorn] would have satisfied her financial responsibility
and purchased all necessary coverages to comply with
Florida's Financial Responsibility Law.” (Doc. # 2
at ¶ 9).
6, 2013, McLawhorn was in a car accident, in which the other
driver was injured. That driver's insurance company is
now suing McLawhorn to recover the driver's medical
costs. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, 8, 10-11).
Additionally, McLawhorn's driver's license may be
suspended because she did not carry bodily injury liability
coverage in her policy, as required by Florida law.
(Id. at ¶ 11). According to McLawhorn, GEICO
unlawfully refused her request that it extend bodily injury
liability coverage to her for the claims of the injured
driver and his insurance company. (Id. at ¶
initiated this putative class action in state court on
December 16, 2016. (Doc. # 2). In the one-count Complaint,
McLawhorn alleges that GEICO failed to include the
statutorily required notice in the policies of all its
insureds whose policies did not include bodily injury
liability coverage. (Id. at 2). McLawhorn defines
the class as “all those similarly situated persons who
have failed to receive the proper statutory notice from GEICO
pursuant to Section 627.7276, Florida Statutes.”
(Id. at ¶ 13).
Complaint seeks “a determination by this Court as to
the available coverage under the GEICO Policy to determine
whether Plaintiff is entitled to bodily injury liability
coverage as required by Florida's Financial
Responsibility Law due to GEICO's failure to comply with
the mandatory requirements of the Notice Statute.”
(Id. at ¶ 38). In her prayer for relief, she
also seeks on behalf of herself and the class members
“[a] judgment under Count I declaring the parties'
respective rights and obligations under Florida law, and
otherwise applicable law, including but not limited to:
declaring that GEICO has failed to comply with the notice
requirements under Section 627.7276, Florida Statutes.”
(Id. at 9).
removed the case to federal court on January 20, 2017,
pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d). (Doc. # 1). On January 24, 2017, the Court
directed GEICO to provide more information about the amount
in controversy (Doc. # 4), to which GEICO responded on
January 31, 2017. (Doc. # 12).
McLawhorn filed her Motion to Remand (Doc. # 24), arguing
GEICO has not established by a preponderance of the evidence
that the $5, 000, 000 amount in controversy requirement is
met. GEICO responded on April 3, 2017. (Doc. # 34). The
Motion is ripe for review.