United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
SAMUEL BAGGETT, on behalf of himself and all similarly situated persons and entities PLAINTIFF
SHELTER MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY DEFENDANT
ROY WILSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
is Defendant's Motion to Transfer (Doc. No. 13).
Plaintiff has responded. For the reasons set out below, the
motion is GRANTED.
Samuel Batter, a resident of North Little Rock, Arkansas,
alleges that “Shelter [Mutual Insurance Company] has a
policy and practice to reduce the Med Pay benefits in an
amount equivalent to the sum paid by other insurance, such as
health insurance, maintained by an insured, ” which is
in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated § 23-89-202 and
Rule 21, Section 3 M of the Arkansas Insurance
Commission. On September 6, 2018, Mr. Baggett filed an
amended complaint, which added class action
7, 2018, Donald Whitaker filed a First Amended Class Action
Complaint in the Circuit Court for Logan County, Arkansas.
That complaint alleges that Shelter Mutual Insurance Company
“as a common policy and general business practice . . .
reduces its automobile medical benefit payments owed to its
insured based on . . . payments by health insurance carriers,
” which is in violation of Arkansas Law and the rules
of the Arkansas Insurance Commission.
conserve judicial resources and avoid conflicting rulings,
the first-filed rule gives priority, for purposes of choosing
among possible venues when parallel litigation has been
instituted in separate courts, to the party who first
establishes jurisdiction.” When applying the
first-to-file rule, “courts generally evaluate three
factors: (1) the chronology of events, (2) the similarity of
the parties involved, and (3) the similarity of the issues or
claims at stake. The complaint in this case and in
Whitaker v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Company involve
the same claims, the same relief, and the same defendant.
Additionally, both want certification of the same class of
Arkansas residents. Although there are two different named
plaintiff, the proposed scope of their respective classes
undisputed that the Whitaker case was filed first
and was the first to include class allegations. Additionally,
already pending in that case is a motion for certification
and a response. The outcome of that motion directly affects
this case. There are no compelling circumstances that would
excuse the first-to-file rule in this case. Accordingly, to
preserve judicial resources and avoid conflicting rulings,
transfer is appropriate in this case.
on the findings of fact and conclusions of law above, the
Clerk of the Court is directed to immediately transfer this
case to the Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith
Doc. No. 19.