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Hudson Specialty Insurance Co. v. Talex Enterprises, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

February 8, 2018

HUDSON SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY PLAINTIFF
v.
TALEX ENTERPRISES, LLC, JUBILEE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, INC., TERRANCE L. ALEXANDER, and the BOARD OF MAYOR AND SELECTMEN OF MCCOMB, MISSISSIPPI, et al. DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          DAVID BRAMLETTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court on a Motion for Change of Venue Due to Improper Jurisdiction [Doc. 33] and an Amended Motion for Change of Venue Due to Improper Jurisdiction [Doc. 34] filed by Defendant Cox Architecture, P.A. (“Cox”). Although styled as motions for change of venue, Cox's motions actually seek to remand this case -- not merely to change venue. Having considered the motions, responses, and applicable statutory and case law, and being otherwise fully informed in the premises, the Court finds as follows:

         I. BACKGROUND

         This declaratory judgment action stems from the collapse of a downtown McComb, Mississippi building due to over-accumulation of water on its roof.

         Invoking diversity jurisdiction, the building's New York-citizen insurer sued in this Court for a declaration voiding two insurance policies on the building on the basis of misrepresentations by its Mississippi-citizen insureds. Joined as defendants are the insureds and a litany of Mississippi-citizen individuals and businesses potentially affected by any adjudication of rights under the policies.[1] One such defendant moves to remand, contending diversity is lacking because the plaintiff-insurer is deemed to share the Mississippi citizenship of its insureds under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).

         A. The Parties

         Plaintiff Hudson Specialty Insurance Company (“Hudson”) is a New York corporation with a New York principal place of business. [Doc. 1, ¶2] Defendant Terrance Alexander is a Mississippi citizen and the principal of Defendants Talex Enterprises, LLC (“Talex”) and Jubilee Performing Arts Center, Inc. (“Jubilee”), both Mississippi citizens. [Doc. 1, ¶¶3-5] Defendant Cox is a Mississippi citizen and one of seventeen persons or entities Hudson names “so that the declarations and relief sought herein may be binding upon them.” [Doc. 1, ¶7]

         B. The 2016 Alexander Policy

         In July 2016, Hudson issued a policy of insurance[2" name="FN2" id="FN2">2] to Alexander covering property located at 220-230 Main Street, McComb, Mississippi (the “Main Street Building”) and 730 Vogel Street, McComb, Mississippi (the “Vogel Street Building”). [Doc. 1, ¶13]

         In January 2017, a roof drain on the Main Street Building ruptured, and Alexander made a claim under the policy. [Doc. 1, ¶¶16-17] About a month later, Hudson issued Alexander a check to cover the repairs. [Doc. 1, ¶19] But the roof, according to Hudson, was never repaired. [Doc. 1, ¶20]

         C. The 2017 Talex Policy

         On July 20, 2017, Hudson renewed Alexander's policy[3" name="FN3" id="FN3">3] on the Main Street Building and the Vogel Street Building and issued a separate policy to Talex (the “2017 Talex Policy”). [Doc. 1, ¶26]

         The 2017 Talex Policy includes a $600, 000 general aggregate limit and a $300, 000 per-occurrence limit. And it lists both the Main Street Building and the Vogel Street Building as covered premises. [Doc. 1-3, 2');">p. 12]

         Hudson alleges that Alexander misrepresented, during renewal negotiations, that the Main Street Building roof had been repaired and that Talex owned the Vogel Street Building. [Doc. 1, ¶¶22, 23] Hudson also alleges that Alexander failed to disclose that a contractor had expressed concern ...


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