United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the court for disposition is defendants' motion to
dismiss portions of the plaintiff's complaint regarding
mishandling of an insurance claim. The matter has been fully
briefed and is ripe for disposition.
Sable Angelcia Machado (hereinafter “plaintiff”)
owned a house located at 238 Braiside Avenue, East
Stroudsburg, PA. (Doc. 1, Compl. ¶ 6). A homeowner's
policy of insurance issued by Defendant Safeco Insurance
covered the property. (Id.) On August 14, 2015, fire
destroyed the house and plaintiff's personal belongings
stored therein. (Id. ¶ 7). Plaintiff made a
claim on her homeowner's policy for the loss she
Investigator Defendant David Klitsch contacted plaintiff on
August 15, 2015, and demanded that they meet at
plaintiff's property on August 18, 2015. (Id.
¶ 10). Plaintiff met the Safeco investigator on August
18, 2015. (Id. ¶ 13). The investigator asked
accusatory questions and acted hostilely and aggressively.
(Id.) Four times during the meeting, Klitsch accused
plaintiff, without any basis, of setting the fire herself.
(Id. ¶ 14). Klitsch made other erratic and
baseless accusations. (Id. ¶ 15). For example,
he accused plaintiff of not being home enough; of not having
enough clothes; having another home in New Jersey; and never
living in the property. (Id.) He also accused
plaintiff's roommates of avoiding him. (Id.
¶ 16). During the meeting, Klitsch implied that Safeco
would find a way to deny the claim by indicating, in a
threatening manner, that if defendants found plaintiff
uncooperative, they would deny her claim. (Id.
approximately three weeks after the meeting, Klitsch
investigated the fire each day. (Id. ¶ 18).
Safeco never revealed the results of the investigation to
alleges other abusive treatment during the claims handling
procedure. For example, Safeco scheduled to take her
statement, which was to last several hours, in a driveway on
a very hot, ninety-degree day. (Id. at ¶ 20).
During the statement, which eventually took place at an
office, the interviewer was aggressive, accusatory and
badgering. (Id. ¶ 22). Then a month and a half
later, Safeco required a second recorded statement.
(Id. ¶ 23).
on February 23, 2016, Safeco denied plaintiff's claim
indicating that plaintiff had violated the “Concealment
or Fraud Condition” contained in the policy.
(Id. ¶ 29). Plaintiff concealed no information
from Safeco and did not commit fraud. (Id. ¶
30). The basis of the denial of insurance benefits is false
and baseless. (Id.)
alleges that she suffered personal property loss of $76,
662.69 and that an adjustment company concluded that the cost
to rebuild the dwelling would be over $437, 000.
(Id. ¶ 33). She also avers that she suffered
severe, ongoing emotional distress. (Id. ¶ 34).
upon these facts, plaintiff filed the instant five-count
complaint. The complaint's five counts are as follows: 1)
Bad faith; 2) Negligence; 3) Violation of the Unfair Trade
Practices and Consumer Protection Law; 4) Breach of
contract/covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and 5)
Breach of fiduciary duty. Defendants have moved to dismiss
several of these counts, bringing the case to its present
asserts this court's jurisdiction pursuant to the
diversity jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc.
1, Compl. ¶ 1). Because we are sitting in diversity, the
substantive law of Pennsylvania shall apply to the instant
case. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 158 (3d
Cir. 2000) (citing Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S.
64, 78 (1938)).
case is before the court pursuant to defendants' motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed,
the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint is
tested. Granting the motion is appropriate if, accepting as
true all the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff
has not pleaded “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face, ” or put another
way, “nudged [his or her] claims across the line from
conceivable to plausible.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Third Circuit
interprets Twombly to require the plaintiff to
describe “enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of”
each necessary element of the claims alleged in the
complaint. Phillips ...