United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
C. BUCKLEW, UNITED STALES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Improper Venue. (Doc. No. 12). Plaintiff opposes
the motion. (Doc. No. 13). As explained below, the Court
agrees with Defendant that this case was not filed in the
Gulf Coast Vacation Properties, LLC alleges the following in
its complaint (Doc. No. 1): Defendant Gulfstream Property
& Casualty Insurance Company issued a flood insurance
policy to Plaintiff for its premises located in Port Saint
Joe, Florida. The flood insurance policy is governed by the
National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.
October of 2018 while the flood insurance policy was in
place, Plaintiff suffered a total loss of the insured
premises due to Hurricane Michael. Plaintiff reported the
loss to Defendant and submitted a claim for the damage.
Defendant inspected the property to evaluate the amount of
damage and tendered payment to Plaintiff. Plaintiff contends
that the amount Defendant tendered was not sufficient to
compensate Plaintiff for its loss, so Plaintiff filed this
lawsuit for breach of the insurance contract.
Standard of Review
contends that this case should be dismissed because it was
filed in an improper venue. In analyzing the motion, the
Court applies the following standard of review:
When an action is commenced in an improper venue, this Court
must dismiss the action, or in the interest of justice,
transfer the matter to a district in which the action could
have properly been brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). When
considering a motion to dismiss for improper venue, the court
must accept all allegations in the complaint as true, unless
contradicted by the defendant's affidavits. . .
. The court . . . draws all reasonable inferences in
favor of the plaintiff. On a motion to dismiss for improper
venue, the plaintiff has the burden of showing that venue in
the forum is proper.
Sfera Jet LLC v. IBX Jets, LLC, 2017 WL 1293771, at
*1 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 3, 2017)(internal citations omitted).
National Flood Insurance Act
insurance policy at issue in this case is governed by the
National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (“NFIA”).
Therefore, before the Court analyzes the motion to dismiss,
it must first explain how the NFIA affects this case. As
explained by one court:
[The National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”)]
is a federally supervised and guaranteed insurance program
presently administered by the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (“FEMA”) pursuant to the NFIA and its
corresponding regulations. . . . In 1983, pursuant to
regulatory authority granted by Congress in 42 U.S.C. §
4081(a), FEMA created the “Write Your Own”
(“WYO”) program. See 44 C.F.R.
§§ 62.23-.24. Under this program, private insurance
companies [WYO companies] . . . write their own insurance
policies. 44 C.F.R. § 62.23. . . . [R]egardless whether
FEMA or a WYO company issues a flood insurance policy, the
United States treasury funds pay off the insureds'
Although WYO companies have the responsibility of defending
against claims, FEMA reimburses the WYO companies for their
defense costs. WYO companies are fiscal agents of the United
States. However, WYO companies are not general agents of the
federal government. FEMA fixes the terms and conditions of
the flood insurance policies, which, barring the express
written consent of the Federal Insurance ...