Lawyers for an insurance company facing a civil complaint in state court have filed a Notice of Removal with federal court in Philadelphia, seeking to have the civil action transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Attorney Veronica W. Saltz, of the Wayne, Pa. law firm of Saltz Polisher P.C., filed the paperwork Oct. 4 on behalf of Sentry Select Insurance Company, which is headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisc., but has Pennsylvania offices.
The original complaint against Sentry was filed on Aug. 31 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorney Scott E. Diamond of the Philadelphia firm Clearfield, Kofsky & Penneys.
The plaintiff in the case is Ronald A. Clearfield, a partner with the law firm.
The original complaint filed stemmed from a September 2007 automobile accident involving a couple that the law firm initiated a lawsuit against on behalf of a client. Sentry, the defendant in this case, had been the insurance company for the couple.
The civil action was eventually transferred to the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County.
At the time of the initial filing, the complaint stated, the plaintiff was unaware that there was no factual and/or legal basis to bring the underlying action.
“Plaintiff found by way of depositions the inconsistencies of facts and/or factual content supplied to Plaintiff by their client,” the lawsuit alleges.
Once the plaintiff was made aware of the inconsistencies, a decision was made to withdraw the civil action, the lawsuit states. Subsequently, the client then terminated her business relationship with the plaintiff.
The client, however, was told she could retain new counsel, which is why the initial complaint was never withdrawn, the lawsuit states.
In October 2010, defendant Sentry filed a motion to discontinue and end action without prejudice.
The original complaint stated that in instituting the underlying action, Sentry acted recklessly and with gross negligence by instituting and maintaining an action against the plaintiff without probable cause or reasonable factual basis and failing to withdraw a baseless action.
The suit said that as a result, the plaintiffs sustained damage in the incurred legal fees and litigation costs totaling $6,800, and will continue to incur legal fees and costs.
The plaintiff also suffered harm to his reputation and emotional distress, the suit states.
The case number for the original complaint in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court was 110804541.
The new federal case number is 2:11-cv-06263-MAM.