United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge.
the court is a partial motion to dismiss filed by the
defendant Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company
(“Nationwide”). (Doc. 6). The defendant
seeks to dismiss a breach of contract claim brought by the
plaintiff Sarah Lancaster who is insured under an insurance
policy with Nationwide. Based on the foregoing, the
defendant's motion will be GRANTED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND 
case arises out of a May 21, 2015 fire that occurred at the
plaintiff's residence located at 106 Hope Way, Scranton,
Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1, ¶¶1, 5). The
plaintiff sustained damages to her home with an estimated
cost of repair in excess of $75, 000.00. (Id.). The
plaintiff alleges she was insured by Nationwide for
accidental fire damage at the time of the fire.
(Id., ¶4). Nationwide is an insurance
corporation incorporated in Ohio with a place of business in
Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Id., ¶2).
a day of the fire, the plaintiff submitted a claim for the
loss to Nationwide. (Id., ¶6). Written notice
was also forwarded on May 29, 2015, August 11, 2015, and
September 9, 2015. (Id., ¶7). Nationwide denied
the plaintiff's claim asserting that the plaintiff's
policy had been cancelled due to non-payment. (Id.,
plaintiff asserts that her insurance policy requires
thirty-day notice to the plaintiff before cancellation by
Nationwide and that renewal of the policy is required unless
this notice is provided. (Id., ¶¶13, 15).
The plaintiff also asserts that her insurance policy requires
Nationwide to notify the plaintiff's mortgagee, Habitat
for Humanity, of cancellation at least ten days prior to the
cancellation. (Id., ¶17). Nationwide never
mailed the plaintiff notice of the premium required to renew
or maintain the policy prior to cancellation and did not
provide any notice to the plaintiff of the intended
cancellation. (Id., ¶¶12, 14). In
addition, Nationwide did not notify Habitat for Humanity of
the cancellation. (Id., ¶18). Nonetheless,
Nationwide did not renew the policy when it expired and the
plaintiff's claim for the May 21, 2015 fire was denied.
(Id., ¶¶8, 16).
December 9, 2016, the plaintiff filed a complaint in this
court alleging two counts against Nationwide, breach of
Contract (Count I) and bad faith in violation of 42 Pa. Cons.
Stat. §8371, Pennsylvania's bad faith statute (Count
(Doc. 1). On February 13, 2017, Nationwide filed the
current, partial motion to dismiss Count I, along with a
brief in support. (Docs. 6-7).
Nationwide's motion seeks to dismiss the plaintiff's
breach of contract claim based on a one-year limitations
clause for filing suit under the policy. To date, the
plaintiff has not responded to Nationwide's motion. The
motion is now ripe for review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
defendant's motion to dismiss is brought pursuant to the
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6). This
rule provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or
in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The
moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has
been stated, Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744,
750 (3d Cir. 2005), and dismissal is appropriate only if,
accepting all of the facts alleged in the complaint as true,
the plaintiff has failed to plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,
” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007) (abrogating “no set of facts” language
found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46
(1957)). The facts alleged must be sufficient to “raise
a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. This requirement
“calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” of
necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action.
Id. at 556. Furthermore, in order to satisfy federal
pleading requirements, the plaintiff must “provide the
grounds of his entitlement to relief, ” which
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Phillips v. County of Allegheny,
515 F.3d 224, S31 (3d Cir. 2008) (brackets and quotations
marks omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
considering a motion to dismiss, the court generally relies
on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public
record. Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263 (3d Cir.
2007). The court may also consider “undisputedly
authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit
to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are
based on the [attached] documents.” Pension Benefit
Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d
1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Moreover, “documents whose
contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity
no party questions, but which are not physically attached to
the pleading, may be considered.” Pryor v.
Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548,
560 (3d Cir. 2002). However, the court may not rely on other
parts of the record in determining a motion to dismiss.
See Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien &
Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994).
the court should grant leave to amend a complaint before
dismissing it as merely deficient. See, e.g.,
Fletcher-Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors,
Inc., 482 F.3d 247, 252 (3d Cir. 2007); Grayson v.
Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002);
Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir.
2000). "Dismissal without leave to amend is justified
only on the grounds of bad faith, undue delay, prejudice, or
futility." Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 236
(3d Cir. 2004).
motion is based on a limitations period provided for in the
plaintiff's policy. This provision states that
“[a]ny action must be started within one year after the
date of loss or damage.” (Doc. 6-2 at 34,
¶8). The court agrees that this provision is
controlling and will grant Nationwide's motion to dismiss
Count I of the plaintiff's complaint.
is no dispute that Pennsylvania law governs this action.
“Under Pennsylvania law, an insurance contract is
governed the law of the state in which the contract was
made.” Meyer v. CUNA Mut. Ins. Soc'y, 648
F.3d 154, 162 (3d Cir. 2011). The Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania has set ...