Sieron tenant comes out a winner in competing fire claim lawsuits

By The Madison County Record | Apr 18, 2014

Both sides lost in a legal contest between Metropolitan Casualty Insurance and landlord Ed Sieron, but one of Sieron’s tenants came out a winner.

Both sides lost in a legal contest between Metropolitan Casualty Insurance and landlord Ed Sieron, but one of Sieron’s tenants came out a winner.

As a result of a decision from federal court in St. Louis, Danisha Combs no longer faces default judgment for recovery of a payout on a fire at her East St. Louis home.

While Metropolitan failed in its bid to recover the payout, Sieron failed in his bid to steer the payout to E&L, one of his property companies.

The fire occurred in 2012, at 1529 N. 43rd St.

Combs claimed $180,862.50 in damages, and Metropolitan made an advance payment.

Sieron then sought coverage under her policy, claiming she signed a deed agreement assigning any insurance payout to E&L.

Metropolitan sued Combs and E&L at Eastern Missouri federal court last Sept. 13, claiming they misrepresented her as owner of the property.

Eleven days later, E&L sued Metropolitan in St. Clair County circuit court, seeking more than $100,000 in damages and penalties.

Metropolitan removed the St. Clair County action to Southern Illinois federal court on Oct. 9, asserting diversity jurisdiction on the grounds that Sieron is a Florida citizen.

On Oct. 10, E&L moved to dismiss the Missouri action for lack of jurisdiction.

E&L moved to remand the Illinois action to St. Clair County on Oct. 18, asserting that Sieron’s principal residence is 116 Country Club Place in Belleville.

On Oct. 21, Metropolitan moved to stay the Illinois action or transfer it to Missouri for consolidation with the action there.

Combs never answered Metropolitan’s complaint in Missouri, and the court clerk entered default against her on Dec. 2.

Metropolitan moved for default judgment against her two days later.

On Feb. 18, District Judge Phil Gilbert of Benton questioned his own jurisdiction over the Illinois action.

He wrote that information from E&L appeared to demonstrate the identity of two other members of E&L aside from Sieron.

“Until Metropolitan satisfies its burden of alleging the citizenship of all members, the court cannot proceed to address other questions raised by the parties,” Gilbert wrote.

Metropolitan amended its removal notice on Feb. 28, alleging that E&L had only one member, Edwin J. Sieron Sr., of Naples, Fla.

As the Illinois action started over, the Missouri action abruptly ended.

On March 13, District Judge Charles Shaw of St. Louis ruled that he lacked jurisdiction over Sieron whether he lived in Naples or Belleville.

Shaw wrote that Metropolitan’s complaint contained no factual assertions concerning any contacts with the state of Missouri.

For the same reason he denied default judgment against Combs.

Sieron, having won in Missouri, chose to surrender in Illinois.

His lawyer, Stephen Clark of Belleville, moved to dismiss the action on April 2.

Clark wrote that E&L “no longer desires to pursue the litigation herein.”

Metropolitan counsel John Taylor of Chesterfield, Mo., did not oppose the motion.

Gilbert dismissed the action with prejudice on April 4.

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