United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
T. PATRICK DAVIS Plaintiff,
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE CO. Defendant.
diversity action, an injured driver, plaintiff T. Patrick
Davis, brings claims against his automobile insurer,
defendant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. He asserts a
breach of contract claim and a bad faith claim under
Pennsylvania law. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the
bad faith claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). I will deny defendant's motion to dismiss the
bad faith claim.
four years ago, T. Patrick Davis was driving his vehicle on
Route 422 in Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania. While
stopped at a red light, a pickup truck rear- ended him and
took off. Mr. Davis was never able to locate the truck or
discover the identity of the driver of the truck.
result of this accident, Mr. Davis suffered serious injuries
to his spine, neck, arms, legs, and shoulders. These injuries
include severe disc herniations in his back. He received
subsequent medical treatment, including physical therapy,
laboratory testing, and multiple surgeries. Due to his
injuries, Mr. Davis has been completely disabled from
employment for over four years.
Davis was insured through an automobile insurance policy with
defendant Nationwide. The policy provided coverage in the
amount of $100, 000 per person and $300, 000 per occurrence.
It also provided for stacking of uninsured motorist
(“UM”) benefits resulting in an aggregate policy
limit of $300, 000. Mr. Davis filed a claim with Nationwide
seeking payment of UM benefits pursuant to this policy. He
has fully complied with Nationwide's investigation of his
claim. He regularly made premium payments and his policy was
in full force and effect the day the accident occurred.
unclear whether Nationwide has refused to pay plaintiff any
UM benefits under the policy. In Davis's complaint, which
was filed June 13, 2016, he alleged that Nationwide had
failed to “pay plaintiff uninsured motorist
benefits.” (Compl. ¶ 15). Nationwide counters that
it sent plaintiff's counsel an offer of $7, 500 to settle
Davis's UM claim on March 4, 2016 and again on April 28,
2016. (Doc. No. 18 at 2). However, plaintiff's counsel
maintains that he never received these alleged offer letters.
(Doc. No. 16-1 at 5).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted examines the legal sufficiency of the
complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46
(1957). The factual allegations must be sufficient to make
the claim for relief more than just speculative. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In
determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss, a federal
court must construe the complaint liberally, accept all
factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.
Id.; see also D.P. Enters. v. Bucks
County Cmty. Coll., 725 F.2d 943, 944 (3d Cir.1984).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a plaintiff
to plead in detail all of the facts upon which she bases her
claim. Conley, 355 U.S. at 47. Rather, the Rules
require a “short and plain statement” of the
claim that will give the defendant fair notice of the
plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests.
Id. The “complaint must allege facts
suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 564. Neither “bald
assertions” nor “vague and conclusory
allegations” are accepted as true. See
Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902,
906 (3d Cir.1997); Sterling v. Southeastern Pennsylvania
Transp. Auth., 897 F.Supp. 893 (E.D. Pa. 1995). The
claim must contain enough factual matters to suggest the
required elements of the claim or to “raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence
of” those elements. Phillips v. County of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme
Court defined a two-pronged approach to a court's review
of a motion to dismiss. “First, the tenet that a court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Id. at 678. Thus, while “Rule 8 marks a
notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical,
code-pleading regime of a prior era . . . it does not unlock
the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing
more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79.
“may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no
relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be
proved consistent with the allegations.” Brown v.
Card Service Center, 464 F.3d 450, 456 (3d Cir. 2006)
(quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69,