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Riedi v. GEICO Casualty Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 11, 2017

WENDY RIEDI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
GEICO CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          STENGEL, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case arises out of a car accident involving Wendy Riedi and her son Cody Chidsey. Ms. Riedi and Mr. Chidsey, the plaintiffs, filed a complaint against GEICO Casualty Company after GEICO refused to pay them uninsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits. GEICO filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' amended complaint. I will deny the motion to dismiss.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On June 28, 2016, Cody Chidsey purchased a 2010 Dodge Challenger from a car dealership in Walnutport, Pennsylvania. Before picking up the car, Cody and his mother, Wendy Riedi, contacted GEICO Casualty Company and requested to add the Dodge Challenger to their pre-existing automobile insurance policy. A GEICO representative told Cody and his mother that their insurance quote would be stored electronically and to contact GEICO once they obtained the VIN number.

         After purchasing the Dodge Challenger, Cody and his mother (with Cody driving) were travelling along Airport Road in East Allen Township, Pennsylvania. When they came to the intersection of Airport Road and West Main Boulevard, their car was struck by another car. The car that struck them was not insured.

         Cody and his mother allege the accident was caused solely by the negligence of the other driver who hit them. Both Cody and his mother suffered injuries as a result of the accident. The Dodge Challenger suffered property damage.

         After the accident, Cody and his mother notified GEICO of their intention to pursue UIM benefits. They claim they fully complied with all the terms and conditions required by the GEICO insurance policy. Cody and his mother seek UIM benefits and property damage benefits in the amount of the policy limits. GEICO has refused to pay Cody or his mother UIM benefits or property damage benefits.

         Cody and his mother initiated this action by filing a complaint against GEICO in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. Thereafter, GEICO removed the case to this Court based upon diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. The complaint sets forth several claims against GEICO: (i) breach of contract for bodily injury and property damage; (ii) bad faith pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 8371; (iii) breach of contract for failure to procure insurance; and (iv) negligence for failure to procure insurance.

         I previously granted GEICO's motion to dismiss the complaint in part. On May 1, 2017, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. GEICO moves to dismiss the plaintiffs' amended bad faith, breach of contract, and procurement claims. In support of their amended complaint, plaintiffs have attached a copy of an Automobile Insurance Policy issued to the plaintiffs by GEICO. (Doc. No. 11, Ex. A). This GEICO Policy states, among other things, that GEICO agrees to insure any automobile owned by plaintiff(s) “on the date of acquisition” and which plaintiff(s) “request [GEICO] to add . . . to the policy within 30 days afterward.” (Id. at 10 ¶ 5(b)(ii)).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), a defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); see also Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the United States Supreme Court recognized that “a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. Subsequently, in 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.

         Second, the Supreme Court emphasized that “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. A complaint does not show an entitlement to relief when the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct. Id.; see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232-34 (3d Cir. 2008) (holding that: (1) factual allegations of complaint must provide notice to defendant; (2) complaint must allege facts suggestive of the proscribed conduct; and (3) the complaint's “‘factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555)).

         The basic tenets of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard of review have remained static. Spence v. Brownsville Area Sch. Dist., No. Civ.A.08-626, 2008 WL 2779079, at *2 (W.D. Pa. July 15, 2008). The general rules of pleading still require only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and need not contain detailed factual allegations. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233. Further, the 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). Finally, the court must ‚Äúdetermine ...


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