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Pasqualino v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 28, 2015

ANNA PASQUALINO, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

RONALD L. BUCKWALTER, Senior Judge.

Currently pending before the Court is the Motion by Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("Defendant") to Dismiss Count Two of Plaintiff Anna Pasqualino ("Plaintiff")'s Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Motion is granted without prejudice.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an adult individual who resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 1.) Defendant is an Illinois corporation licensed to conduct business and issue policies of insurance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 2.) On December 12, 2012, and for some time prior, Plaintiff was insured with Defendant under Policy 182-8883-D12-38 and was provided with uninsured motorist coverage pursuant to that policy. (Id. ¶ 4.)

On December 12, 2012, Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle collision with an uninsured motor vehicle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 5.) The sole cause of the collision was the negligence of the uninsured motorist. (Id. ¶ 6.) As a result of the collision, Plaintiff suffered serious and permanent injuries, including acute traumatic sprain and strain involving the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbosacral region of the spine; clinical aggravation of underlying rheumatoid arthritis; and clinical aggravation of preexisting cervical and lumbar disc pathology. (Id.)

On or about January 8, 2014, as part of Plaintiff's request for the policy limits of her uninsured motorist coverage, Plaintiff's counsel submitted to Defendant's adjuster both her medical records and her demand for a settlement of her uninsured motorist claim. (Id. ¶ 7.) On April 10, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a Statement Under Oath in compliance with Defendant's request. (Id. ¶ 8.) On September 26, 2014, as a result of ongoing treatment, Plaintiff's counsel supplemented her demand to Defendant's adjuster by providing additional medical records. (Id. ¶ 9.) Defendant refused to offer Plaintiff more than $12, 000.00 to resolve the claim. (Id. ¶ 10.)

Count One of Plaintiff's claim is for breach of contract, in which she alleges that Defendant failed to objectively and fairly evaluate her claim, promptly offer payment of the reasonable and fair value of the claim to her, and reasonably investigate her claim "inasmuch as a thorough and proper inquiry would reveal" the injuries she suffered and as described in Paragraph 6 of the Complaint. (Id. ¶¶ 13-15.) As a result of those injuries, Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer pain and inconvenience, has been and is apt to be prevented from attending her usual duties and occupation, has incurred and may incur in the future medical expenses in the treatment of her injuries, and has been unable to relieve the pain in her spine, in spite of receiving injections as part of her treatment. (Id. ¶ 15.)

In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's handling of Plaintiff's uninsured motorist claim constitutes bad faith as defined by Pa. C.S. § 8371, because Defendant:

a. Failed objectively and fairly to evaluate Plaintiff's claim;
b. Failed to adopt or implement reasonable standards in evaluating Plaintiff's claim;
c. Acted unreasonably and unfairly in response to Plaintiff's claim;
d. Did not attempt in good faith to effectuate a fair, prompt, and equitable settlement of Plaintiff's claim in which Defendant's liability under the policy had become [sic];
e. Subordinated the interest of its insured to its own financial interests;
f. Failed reasonably and adequately to evaluate or review the medical documentation in ...

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