United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Richard Caputo United States District Judge.
before me is the Motion to Dismiss Claims of Bad Faith in the
Amended Complaint (Doc. 19) filed by Defendant Protective
Insurance Company (“Defendant”). Plaintiff Thomas
Meyers (“Plaintiff”) contends, inter
alia, that Defendant failed to comply with its statutory
and common law duties of good faith and fair dealing in
handling his uninsured motorist claim. I previously dismissed
Plaintiff's bad faith claims, but Plaintiff was permitted
to amend those claims to sufficiently allege that Defendant
acted in bad faith in investigating and evaluating his
uninsured motorist claim. Plaintiff timely filed the Amended
Complaint, and Defendant again seeks dismissal of the
statutory and common law bad faith claims. Because Plaintiff
now pleads plausible bad faith claims, the motion to dismiss
will be denied.
facts as alleged in the Amended Complaint are as follows:
January 21, 2014, Plaintiff sustained serious injuries after
he was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle while delivering boxes
for his employer, KM Michaels, Inc. (See Doc. 18,
¶¶ 14-15). At that time, KM Michaels, Inc. had an
automobile insurance policy issued by Defendant, which
covered Plaintiff as an “insured” under the
policy. (See id. at ¶¶ 6, 11).
about April 23, 2014, Plaintiff provided Defendant with
notice of his uninsured motorist claim. (See id. at
¶ 24). The same day, Plaintiff supplied Defendant with a
copy of the police report and requested a copy of the
property damage photos that Defendant indicated were in its
file. (See id. at ¶ 25). On May 28, 2014,
Plaintiff provided Defendant with treatment information and
medical records. (See id. at ¶ 26). At that
time, Plaintiff also gave Defendant a copy of a decision
finding Plaintiff was entitled to workers' compensation.
(See id. at ¶ 27). Plaintiff provided updated
treatment records to Defendant on August 18, 2014. (See
id. at ¶ 28).
29, 2015, Plaintiff, at the request of Defendant, underwent
an independent medical examination by an orthopedic surgeon.
(See id. at ¶ 29). That physician characterized
Plaintiff's condition as “guarded” and
attributed Plaintiff's injuries to the hit-and-run
accident. (See id. at ¶¶ 30-31).
on or about January 4, 2016, notified Defendant that he had
been unable to identify the driver of the vehicle that struck
him. (See id. at ¶ 32). On or about February 1,
2016, Plaintiff provided Defendant with a “specific and
detailed liability and damages package, including hundreds of
pages of Plaintiff's medical records, which went without
a response.” (Id. at ¶ 33). On March 9,
2016, Plaintiff asked Defendant to advise him of the status
of the review of his claim, but Defendant failed to do so.
(See id. at ¶ 34). Rather, Defendant's
adjuster responded to Plaintiff that her final report would
be submitted to management over the weekend and she would
advise Plaintiff of Defendant's position as soon as
possible. (See id. at ¶ 35). Defendant's
adjuster did not advise Plaintiff of the status of the review
as promised. (See id. at ¶ 36). Plaintiff again
requested Defendant provide him a report on the status of his
claim evaluation on March 31, 2016, but that request was
ignored. (See id. at ¶¶ 37-38). On April
18, 2016, Plaintiff provided Defendant with a blanket
authorization to obtain certain investigative records.
(See id. at ¶ 39).
wrote to Defendant on April 20, 2016 as follow up to an
earlier email and multiple voice messages regarding the
status of his claim. (See id. at ¶ 40).
Defendant's adjuster responded that the review meeting
was not yet on her calendar. (See id. at ¶ 41).
Despite subsequently informing Plaintiff that she would find
out when the claim would be reviewed, the adjuster failed to
provide this information to Defendant. (See id. at
left several voice messages for Defendant's adjuster
during the week of May 8, 2016 requesting an update on the
status of Defendant's investigation, to which
Defendant's adjuster responded on May 18, 2016 that she
still did not have a calendar date for review of
Plaintiff's claim. (See id. at ¶¶
45-46). After multiple requests, Defendant finally provided
Plaintiff with a copy of its investigative file on May 24,
2016. (See id. at ¶ 48). Plaintiff contacted
the adjuster's supervisor the following day regarding
Defendant's failure to provide a settlement offer or
otherwise communicate regarding the status of its
investigation. (See id. at ¶ 49).
26, 2016, Defendant made its first settlement offer in the
amount of $225, 000.00. (See id. at ¶ 50). At
the time the offer was made, Defendant possessed medical lien
and wage loss documentation in an amount in excess of $122,
000.00. (See id.). Defendant was also aware at that
time that Plaintiff's medical and wage loss liens were
rapidly increasing as Plaintiff was still unable to work and
was undergoing medical treatment. (See id.). The
following week, Defendant increased its settlement offer and
retained counsel to represent its interests in this matter.
(See id. at ¶¶ 51-52). After counsel was
retained, Defendant over the next month requested three (3)
medical evaluations of Plaintiff, including two with
orthopedic physicians. (See id. at ¶¶ 54,
9, 2016, Plaintiff advised Defendant that he would be willing
to settle his claim within the policy limits. (See
id. at ¶ 53). A week later, Defendant wrote to
Plaintiff setting forth falsities designed to devalue
Plaintiff's claim, including that he delayed in reporting
the accident, that Plaintiff had a “significant medical
history”, that there was only “minor property
damage”, and that there were “other relevant
factors” that Defendant failed to identify. (See
id. at ¶¶ 55). Plaintiff responded to
Defendant the next day to rebut the inaccuracies set forth in
Defendant's prior correspondence and to request a more
reasonable offer in light of Plaintiff's injuries.
(See id. at ¶¶ 56-57).
on the foregoing, Plaintiffs filed this action against
Defendant in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County,
Pennsylvania on July 25, 2016. (See Doc. 1, Ex.
“A”). After removing the action to this Court,
(see Doc. 1, generally), Defendant filed a
motion for partial dismissal of Plaintiffs' Complaint.
(See Doc. 3, generally).
motion to dismiss was granted in part and denied in part, and
Plaintiff was granted leave to amend his bad faith claims.
(See Docs. 16-17, generally). In dismissing
Plaintiff's bad faith claims without prejudice, I found
that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege facts
demonstrating bad faith regarding Defendant's failure to
communicate with Plaintiff and/or failure to objectively and
fairly evaluate Plaintiff's uninsured motorist claim.
(See Doc. 16, 10-14). I also noted that the
Complaint contained “bare-bones” conclusory
allegations which were insufficient to state bad faith
claims. (See id. at 14). ...