United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY United States District Judge.
the court for disposition is the motion to dismiss
plaintiff's amended complaint filed by Defendants Houston
International Insurance Group and Imperium Insurance Group
(hereinafter “defendants”). The motion has been
briefed and is ripe for disposition.
Houston International Insurance Group by and through its
subsidiary Imperium Insurance Group issued a worker's
compensation and employer's liability insurance policy
(hereinafter “policy”) to Plaintiff TNT for a
policy period of September 19, 2013 through September 19,
2014. (Doc. 15, Am. Compl. at 1). TNT engaged a financing
company, First Funding Corporation to pay its premium on the
policy. (Id.) Defendants have refused to pay two
workers compensation claims made by plaintiff's
employees. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff asserts that the
policy covers these claims, and defendants have acted in bad
faith in failing to pay the benefits. (Id.) Thus,
plaintiff filed a three-count amended complaint asserting:
Count I, Bad Faith; Count II, Breach of Contract; Count III,
Declaratory Judgment -Coverage. (Doc. 15). Defendants have
moved to dismiss the amended complaint, bringing the case to
its present posture.
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity jurisdiction
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The plaintiff is a
Pennsylvania corporation with a principal place of business
in Montrose, Pennsylvania, and the defendants are Texas
corporations with principal places of business in Houston,
Texas. (Doc. 15, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-3). 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)).
the court is the defendants' motion to dismiss
plaintiff's amended complaint 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 v. Cty. of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Moreover, the plaintiff
must allege facts that “justify moving the case beyond
the pleadings to the next stage of litigation.”
Id. at 234-35.
issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true,
support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding
a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual
allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit
of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn
therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132
F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997). To decide a motion to dismiss, a
court generally should consider only the allegations in the
complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of
public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim.
See In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114
F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997); Pension Benefit Guar.
Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196
(3d Cir. 1993).
motion to dismiss each of the three counts in the amended
complaint. We will address each in turn, beginning with Count
I - Bad Faith.
first count of plaintiff's amended complaint asserts a
bad faith claim pursuant to 40 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8371.
(Doc. 15, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 34-52). Plaintiff asserts
many examples of defendants' bad faith conduct including,
inter alia: failing to provide contracted for
coverage; engaging in dilatory and abusive claims handling;
failing to adopt or implement reasonable standards in
evaluating plaintiff's claims; and misrepresenting the
benefits, advantages, conditions or terms of the policy.
(Id. ¶ 42).
8371 authorizes recovery for an insurance company's bad
faith towards an insured. It provides for several remedies
upon a finding of bad faith: (1) an award of “interest
on the amount of the claim” at a rate equal to
“the prime rate of interest plus 3%”; (2) an
award of “punitive damages against the insurer”
and/or (3) an assessment ...