The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James M. Munley United States District Court
Before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint (Doc. 3). Having been fully briefed, the matter is ripe for disposition.
This case concerns the duties required under a flood insurance policy issued by defendants. The policy covered property at 1250 Roosevelt Highway in Waymart, Pennsylvania. It was in effect on June 23, 2006 when a flood occurred at the property. (Complaint (hereinafter "Complt.") at ¶¶ 6-7). The flood caused property damage and loss of contents in excess of $50,000. (Id. at ¶ 7). On January 24, 2007, plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County, Pennsylvania. The complaint consists of four counts. Count I alleges that the Nationwide Insurance Defendants improperly denied coverage for plaintiffs' losses from the flood. Plaintiffs allege that Nationwide's improper refusal to provide coverage under the policy resulted in "direct and consequential damages" that included "additional damage to personal property and profits, substantial financial hardship and inconvenience with loss of rents and/or rental income." (Id. at ¶ 11). Count II alleges that all defendants damaged the plaintiffs by misrepresenting their expertise in flood insurance in order to obtain their business. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-16). Count III contends that defendants were careless and negligent in failing to provide insurance for the property's contents and failing to notify plaintiffs about the limits of the insurance. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19). Count IV alleges that the Turano Defendants, in failing to provide plaintiffs with contents coverage, engaged in unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 PA. CONS. STAT. § 201.2(4).
On February 16, 2007, defendants filed a notice of removal with this court (Doc. 1). On February 22, 2007, the defendants filed their motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc. 3). Both parties filed briefs, bringing the case to its present posture.
When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of a complaint's allegations are tested. The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).
Defendants move to dismiss the complaint with prejudice on several grounds. We will discuss each in turn.
Count I of the complaint raises a breach of contract claim against the Nationwide defendants. Defendants challenge the ability of both Star Spa and Stark Spencer to raise such a claim on two grounds.
a. Lack of Contract Between Star Spa and Defendants
Defendants allege that Plaintiff Star Spa's breach of contract claim should be dismissed because no contract existed between the parties and plaintiff therefore can raise no contract claim. "A claim for breach of contract exists where it can be shown that there was a contract, a breach of duty imposed by that contract and damages that resulted from the breach." Koken v. Steinberg, 825 A.2d 723, 729 (Pa.Cmmw. Ct. 2003). "The basic elements of a contract" include "an offer, acceptance and consideration." Hatbob v. Brown, 575 A.2d 607, 613 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1990).
Plaintiffs have not properly alleged that any contract existed between Star Spa and the defendants. Plaintiffs' complaint contends that Star Spa "was at all times relevant hereto the insured of Defendants Nationwide." (Complt. at ¶ 1). The complaint includes, however, a copy of portions of the insurance contract in question in this case.*fn1 (See Complt. Exh. A). That policy describes the insured property as 1250 Roosevelt Highway, Waymart, Pennsylvania. (Id.). The policy provides $160,000 in coverage for the building at that property, and no coverage for any of the building's contents. (Id.). Listed as the policy holder is Stark Spencer Real Estate Partners. (Id.). No mention of Star Spa services appears on this policy or in any of the documents included by the plaintiff in the complaint that describe the policy. Plaintiffs have therefore not alleged that any contract existed between Star Spa Services and the Nationwide defendants. They have also submitted evidence that demonstrates ...