978 F.2d 437 (8th Cir. 1992), 92-1095, Capitol Indem. Corp. v. Miles

Docket Nº:92-1095.
Citation:978 F.2d 437
Party Name:CAPITOL INDEMNITY CORPORATION, Appellant, v. Bill MILES, d/b/a Miles Roofing and Coating, Inc., and Miles Roofing and Coating, a Corporation, Appellees.
Case Date:October 29, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 437

978 F.2d 437 (8th Cir. 1992)

CAPITOL INDEMNITY CORPORATION, Appellant,

v.

Bill MILES, d/b/a Miles Roofing and Coating, Inc., and Miles

Roofing and Coating, a Corporation, Appellees.

No. 92-1095.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 29, 1992

Submitted Sept. 15, 1992.

Patrick J. Doran, Kansas City, Mo., argued (John G. Schultz, on the brief), for appellant.

James R. Bickel, Nevada, Mo., on the brief, for appellees.

Before JOHN R. GIBSON, BEAM, and MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, Circuit Judges.

MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.

Bill Miles, doing business as Miles Roofing and Coating, Inc., contracted to spray exterior foam insulation on a building that Eagle-Picher Industries owned. The owners of 130 cars parked in the vicinity of the building asserted that excess spray damaged their vehicles and they made claims

Page 438

against Eagle-Picher. Eagle-Picher settled these claims for a total of $50,000 and then sued Miles asserting a right to contribution. (That suit is still pending.) Miles then demanded that his liability carrier, Capitol Indemnity (appellant), indemnify him for any amount (less his $500 deductible) for which he might become liable in contribution. Appellant refused on the ground that the $500 deductible applied separately to each car damaged, and that it therefore could owe Miles nothing since he was subject to a total of $65,000 in deductibles, less than Eagle-Picher's demand. (We assume that none of the individual claims exceeded $500.)

Appellant then brought this suit for a declaratory judgment that it had no duty to indemnify. The trial court entered judgment for Miles on the basis of a paper record. We reverse and remand.

I.

A threshold issue is whether the amount in controversy in this diversity case is sufficient to support federal jurisdiction. Miles argues that the contribution claim could be for no more than $50,000, and, because at least one $500 deductible applies, that the maximum possible amount in controversy is less than $50,000--that is, less than the amount necessary to establish federal jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Appellant correctly points out, however, that attorney's fees are also at stake, see Ward v. City National Bank and Trust Co., 379 S.W.2d 614 (Mo.1964), which would place the amount in controversy well over $50,000. We believe that the trial court...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP