I had the honor of clerking for a federal judge out of law school. For that reason, I have no problem being in federal court. However, many plaintiffs like to avoid federal court for various reasons. Certainly in a small case it would be better to remain in state court. The threshold for diversity of citizenship jurisdiction to remove a case to federal court is $75,000. (As an aside, I think the amount should be at least $100,000, if not more.) In any event, there are times when the amount in controversy is small and the plaintiff’s lawyer wants to stipulate that the amount is less than $75,000, as a way to avoid federal court.


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Ahh the joys of litigation and the many issues that parties face. Sometimes in insurance cases (as well as other types of cases) the parties litigate where to litigate the dispute. This may involve the question of in what jurisdiction (in what state or in what federal district) they will litigate the case; or it could mean whether the case is litigated in state or federal court. It can be common for insurers to remove state court complaints filed against them in property insurance cases where the insurance carrier is a national or international insurer (is domiciled out of state) and the amount in dispute between the parties exceeds $75,000. Sometimes the filing party may prefer to stay where they filed the complaint and after the other party seeks to remove the case to federal court, there can be litigation over where to litigate the case – federal or state court. This occurred in a recent property insurance case, MIR Convenience Store, Inc. v. Century Surety Company.1


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Insurance disputes often are tried in federal court. The usual reason is that federal courts have jurisdiction over controversies where parties are from different states and there is a sufficient monetary amount in controversy. I have often questioned the logic of allowing insurance companies voluntarily licensed in a state to remove disputes from that state