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Kojeszewski v. Infinity Insurance Co.

October 31, 2006

KEITH KOJESZEWSKI AND CORRINA KOJESZEWSKI, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
INFINITY INSURANCE COMPANY D/B/A LEADER INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant Infinity Insurance Company d/b/a Leader Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss Counts III, IV and V of Plaintiffs Keith and Corrina Kojeszewski's Complaint. Defendant also moves to dismiss Infinity Insurance Company and Corrina Kojeszewski from this action as improper parties. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion will be granted in part and denied in part. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441.

BACKGROUND

On November 14, 2005, Plaintiffs commenced this action by filing a Writ of Summons in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. (Doc. 2-1 ¶ 1.) Defendant then filed a Rule Upon Plaintiffs to file a Complaint. (Doc. 2-1 ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on June 12, 2006 in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. (Doc. 1-7.)

In their Complaint, Plaintiffs alleged the following facts. In March of 2003, Plaintiffs renewed an automobile insurance policy with Leader Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Infinity Insurance Company. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 3.) In October of 2003, Plaintiff Keith Kojeszewski purchased a motor vehicle, a 1986 Nissan 300ZX, from Bear Auto, an automobile dealership located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 4.) While at Bear Auto, Mr. Kojeszewski contacted a customer service representative at Leader Insurance Company and provided the necessary information so that the 1986 Nissan 300ZX could be added to Plaintiffs' existing automobile insurance policy. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 5.) On November 22, 2003, Mr. Kojeszewski was involved in a motor vehicle accident. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 6.) Mr. Kojeszewski reported this accident to Defendant in a timely fashion. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 11.) A field adjuster from Infinity Insurance Company denied Mr. Kojeszewski coverage. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 12.) On November 5, 2004, a Joinder Complaint was filed naming Mr. Kojeszewski as an Additional Defendant. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 7.) Defendant refused to indemnify Mr. Kojeszewski. (Doc. 1-7 ¶¶ 8, 15.) Plaintiffs' had paid all premiums and satisfied all conditions required of them by their automobile insurance contract. (Doc. 1-7 ¶ 13.)

Plaintiffs' Complaint contained the following claims: Count I -- breach of contract; Count II -- breach of contract (reasonable expectations); Count III -- negligence; Count IV -- violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act; and Count V -- Bad Faith. (Doc. 1-7 pp. 3-9.)

On June 23, 2006, Defendant removed Plaintiffs' action to this Court based on diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy in excess of $75,000. (Doc. 2-1 ¶ 4.) Thereafter, on June 30, 2006, Defendant moved this Court to dismiss Counts III, IV and V of Plaintiffs' Complaint, as well as to dismiss Infinity Insurance Company and Plaintiff Corrina Kojeszewski from this action as improper parties. (Doc. 2-1.) Defendant also filed a supporting brief. (Doc. 2-3.) Plaintiffs failed to file a brief in opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant's motion is now ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as true and "drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, no relief could be granted under any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 1998), nor credit a complaint's "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of the claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. In order to survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred. See Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). The defendant bears the burden of establishing that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Defendant has moved to dismiss Counts III, IV and V of Plaintiffs' Complaint. Defendant first maintains that Plaintiffs' negligence claim (Count III) must be dismissed because Pennsylvania law does not provide a separate tort-law cause of action against an insurer for negligence. Second, Defendant asserts that the Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act, 40 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. §§ 1171.1-15, does not provide a private cause of action to redress violations of it, and, therefore, Count IV must be dismissed. Third, Defendant contends that Plaintiffs' statutory bad faith claim (Count V), brought under 42 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. § 8371, must be dismissed because Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Defendant acted with the wrongful state of mind necessary to state a claim.

Defendant also seeks dismissal of Infinity Insurance Company and Corrina Kojeszewski from this action as improper parties. Defendant argues that Infinity Insurance Company must be dismissed because it is not a party to the insurance contract. Defendant also avers that Corrina Kojeszewski is an improper party to this action because only Keith Kojeszewski, and not Corrina Kojeszewski, was ...


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