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Wright v. Ohio Casualty Group Insurance Co.

April 27, 2009

JAMES I. WRIGHT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OHIO CASUALTY GROUP INSURANCE CO. D/B/A OHIO CASUALTY GROUP, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss of Defendant Ohio Casualty Group Insurance Company d/b/a Ohio Casualty Group. (Doc. 3.) Defendant moves to dismiss two items of relief requested in Plaintiff James I. Wright's Complaint (Ex. A, Doc. 1). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 ("diversity jurisdiction").

BACKGROUND

The allegations contained in Plaintiff's Complaint are as follows. Plaintiff was injured in an automobile accident on June 30, 2006. (Compl. ¶ 5, Ex. A, Doc. 1.) At the time, he had an automobile insurance policy issued by Defendant, covering the vehicle Plaintiff was driving when involved in the accident. (Id. ¶¶4, 5.) Defendant paid Plaintiff's medical expenses and lost wages for approximately one year following the accident. (Id. ¶7.) In November 2007, Defendant requested that Plaintiff submit to a medical examination by a doctor selected by Defendant. (Id. ¶8.) After this examination, Defendant ceased paying first party benefits under the policy to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶9.) Plaintiff alleges that since termination of his benefits he has incurred, and continues to incur, reasonable and necessary medical expenses and lost wages which Defendant is obligated to pay, up to the limits of his policy. (Id. ¶¶10-13.)

Based on these allegations, Plaintiff makes the following prayer for relief:

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for the entry of a decree:

(a) directing the defendant ... to pay Plaintiff's outstanding medical expenses plus interest and lost wages.

(b) directing the Defendant ... to resume paying Plaintiff's medical bills as they are submitted for payment and lost wages, subject to applicable policy limits, until further order of this Court;

(c) appointing an independent medical examiner to review Plaintiff's need for continued treatment on a periodic basis.... (Id. ¶ 19.)

Plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 19, 2008 in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, Pennsylvania. Defendant removed the action to this Court on January 15, 2009. (Doc. 1.) Defendant thereafter filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on January 20, 2009. (Doc. 3.) Defendant does not contest that Plaintiff may pray for the first above-listed item of relief, but moves to dismiss the latter two items, arguing that such relief is barred as a matter of law. The motion has been fully briefed and is 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 as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff has not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1960 (2007), meaning, enough factual allegations "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (per curiam). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court may consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record, including judicial proceedings. S. Cross Overseas Agencies, Inc. v. Wah Kwong Shipping Group, Ltd., 181 F.3d 410, 426 (3d Cir. 1999). 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 ...


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