ST. LOUIS — The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted an insurer's request to transfer a putative class action involving "labor depreciation" from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to the Eastern District.
In a per curiam order filed Oct. 6, the appeals court indicated that because it had dismissed a similar lawsuit arising from the Western District of Missouri, it would grant Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co.'s petition for writ of mandamus in transferring the case.
According to the ruling, in the suit against Travelers, the home of lead plaintiff Greg Boss sustained hail damage in June 2014, and Boss filed a property-damage claim under his replacement cost homeowners policy. The insurer paid the actual cash value of his loss prior to repair or replacement, but Boss followed with a class-action claim, alleging the insurer breached the contract by deducting labor depreciation from the estimated replacement cost in determining actual cash value.
Travelers sought to transfer the case from federal court in Kansas City to federal court in St. Louis where Boss's property, the insurer's claim office and witnesses are located; however, the district court denied that motion.
The court at the Western District had relied on the fact that another case in that court, LaBrier v. State Farm, also was dealing with the issue of whether labor is depreciable when actual cash value is calculated.
The per curiam order indicates that the 8th Circuit filed an opinion in Labrier, reversing the court's resolution of the labor depreciation issue and a class certification order. The 8th Circuit further remanded with directions to dismiss.
"Accordingly, we now grant the petition for a writ of mandamus, vacate the district court’s Order dated June 8, 2016, and remand for further proceedings in light of our decision in In re: State Farm," the ruling states.