Swayze v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. 2014-C-1899 - City Court Jurisdiction

Julius P. Hebert Jr. and Brian J. Marceaux - Friday, July 10, 2015

The issue this matter presented for the Louisiana Supreme Court's review centered on the “amount in dispute” which determined subject matter jurisdiction of a city court with a jurisdictional limit of $30,000. After filing suit, plaintiff settled with the tortfeasor and the tortfeasor’s liability insurer for $25,000, plaintiff’s claim against her uninsured motorist insurer was the only claim left. The issue to be determined was whether following the dismissal of the settling defendants, the city court had jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claim against her uninsured motorist insurer to the full extent of that court’s $30,000 jurisdictional limit. Put another way, the issue in this case was whether the settlement amount counted toward the city court’s jurisdictional limit. The Court held that it did not: because the $25,000 settlement amount no longer constituted part of the “amount in dispute,” the city court’s jurisdiction over the uninsured motorist claim was to the full extent of its $30,000 jurisdictional limit. Therefore, the appellate court’s decision was reversed, and the case was remanded to the court of appeal for further consideration.