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Williamsburg Commons Condominium Association v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company

November 13, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anita B. Brody, J.


Plaintiff Williamsburg Commons Condominium Association ("Williamsburg") brings suit against Defendant State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm") for declaratory judgment and breach of contract, or in the alternative, for fraudulent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. I exercise diversity jurisdiction over Williamsburg's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. State Farm previously filed a motion to dismiss and strike parts of Williamsburg's complaint. At a pretrial conference held on the record on April 11, 2012, I granted Defendant's motion to dismiss Count III for misrepresentation with leave to amend. I denied Defendant's motion to strike Count IV for unjust enrichment. Williamsburg filed an amended complaint. Before me now is State Farm's motion to dismiss and strike parts of the amended complaint.


Defendant State Farm issued Plaintiff Williamsburg an insurance policy with a term from October 19, 2009 through and including October 19, 2010. The policy covered property damage for the condominium development Williamsburg Commons located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. In June 2010, residents in seven homes in Williamsburg Commons noticed cracking interior drywall and other damage. On June 19, 2010, Williamsburg notified State Farm of the damage. Consultants hired by State Farm and Williamsburg each surveyed the property and issued reports. Both concluded that sinkhole activity was responsible for the damage. The consultant hired by Williamsburg recommended compaction grouting remediation to stabilize the ground beneath the homes. Williamsburg paid to fix interior damage to the homes and for the compaction grouting remediation. The remediation process caused additional damage to the homes, which Williamsburg also paid to fix.

State Farm paid Williamsburg $10,000 under the "Extension of Coverage" provision of the policy. On October 26, 2010, Williamsburg wrote to State Farm demanding additional coverage. On February 16, 2011, State Farm paid Williamsburg $107,792.04 for the repair of the interior damage to the homes caused by the sinkhole. On August 22, 2011, State Farm paid Williamsburg $19,276.21 for structural loss to the homes. Williamsburg claims that State Farm failed to indemnify it for the costs of the compaction grouting remediation and for repairs to the homes caused by the remediation process, in excess of $350,000.*fn2

Williamsburg brings suit against State Farm for declaratory judgment (Count I), breach of contract (Count II), fraudulent or grossly negligent misrepresentation (Count III), and unjust enrichment (Count IV). In its prayer for relief, Williamsburg requests a declaration stating that State Farm must fully indemnify Williamsburg, an award for the full amount of the remediation and damage caused by the remediation, compensatory damages for State Farm's misrepresentations and unjust enrichment, punitive damages, and "such other and further relief, including reasonable costs and attorneys' fees as the Court may . . . deem just and appropriate."*fn3


A motion to dismiss should be granted under Rule 12(b)(6) if the moving party "under any reasonable reading of the complaint . . . may be entitled to relief." Kerchner v. Obama, 612

F.3d 204, 207 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). The complaint must allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Rather, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must "accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff."

Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006). This "assumption of truth" is "inapplicable to legal conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50.

Under Rule 12(f) a court "may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). "[S]triking a pleading is a 'drastic remedy' to be used sparingly because of the difficulty of deciding a case without a factual record." BJ Energy, LLC v. PJM Interconnection, LLC, Nos. 08-3649, 09-2864, 2010 WL 1491900, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 13, 2010) (quoting N. Penn. Transfer, Inc. v. Victaulic Co. of Am., 859 F. Supp. 154, 158-59 (E.D. Pa.1994)). Therefore, while Rule 12(f) grants the court the power to grant a motion to strike, such motions "are not favored and usually will be denied unless the allegations have no possible relation to the controversy and may cause prejudice to one of the parties, or if the allegations confuse the issues." N. Penn. Transfer, 859 F. Supp. at 158 (internal quotation marks omitted). Pennsylvania law applies.


State Farm moved to dismiss or in the alternative to strike Count III for misrepresentation, to strike Count IV for unjust enrichment and references to "willful" and "wanton conduct," and motions to dismiss plaintiff's prayer for relief for punitive damages, attorney ...

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