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Southern District Denies Joinder of Non-diverse Defendants in Coverage Action

In IBIS VILLAS AT MIAMI GARDENS CONDO ASS'N, INC. v. ASPEN SPECIALTY INSURANCE CO., 23 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. D21a (S.D. Fla. May 24, 2011), Judge Abalberto Jordan, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, held that the plaintiff should not be permitted to join the additional non-diverse defendants in an attempt to defeat the court's diversity jurisdiction. This case is an important one, as insurers routinely attempt to remove cases to federal court on diversity of citizenship grounds. It is considered by most out-of-state insurers that federal court, rather than state court, is a more preferential forum for insurers.

In October of 2010, Ibis Villas filed a one-count complaint against Aspen Specialty Insurance Co. and James River Insurance Co. in Florida state court for breach of contract. Ibis Villas alleges that the defendants breached insurance policies issued to it by failing to provide coverage or payment for damages it sustained to its property on October 24, 2005, due to Hurricane Wilma. The defendants were served with the complaint on January 20, 2011, and on February 10, 2011, removed the case to this court based on diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.


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