Rarick v. Federated Service Insurance Co

Pennsylvania resident Rarick worked for a company that insured its vehicles under a policy issued by Federated, a Minnesota corporation, under which the employer waived uninsured motorist coverage for most of its employees, including Rarick. Rarick alleged that he suffered injuries after he crashed a company car because an unidentified vehicle forced him off the road. Rarick submitted a claim to Federated for uninsured motorist benefits. Federated denied the claim. Rarick filed a class action, seeking a declaration that Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law required Federated to provide Rarick with uninsured motorist coverage. Rarick also requested damages for breach of contract. On a motion to remand to state court, the district court adopted a “heart of the matter” test to determine whether it had discretion to decline jurisdiction, found that the crux of the litigation was declaratory, noted “the nature and novelty of the state law issues,” declined jurisdiction and remanded the case. The Third Circuit vacated, stating that the heart of the matter test is problematic because it enables plaintiffs to avoid federal subject matter jurisdiction through artful pleading. The independent claim test is the applicable legal standard for review of a complaint that seeks both legal and declaratory relief. View "Rarick v. Federated Service Insurance Co" on Justia Law