Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Elican v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 21, 2017

MARY JEAN ELICAN, et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          GERALD J. PAPPERT, J.

         Mary Jean Elican and Tony McCloud sued Allstate Insurance Company in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas asserting in Count I of their Complaint that Allstate breached the terms of an Allstate insurance policy (“the Policy”) by failing to pay certain benefits. (Notice of Removal, Ex. A, ¶¶ 9-13, ECF No. 1) [hereinafter Compl.] In Count II, Elican and McCloud allege violations of Pennsylvania's bad faith statute, 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8371, (Compl. ¶¶ 14-17), while in Count III they contend that Allstate was negligent in not listing McCloud as an insured under the Policy (Compl. ¶¶ 18-27). Allstate removed the case to federal court (ECF No. 1) and filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 6).[1] Plaintiffs responded (ECF No. 9) and Allstate replied (ECF No. 12). An arbitration hearing is scheduled for January 17, 2018. (ECF No. 17.)[2] For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Allstate's Motion, with leave to allow McCloud to amend Count I and Elican and McCloud to amend Counts II and III.

         I

         A

         Elican and McCloud, her “long-time, committed partner, ” live at 6931 Grosbeak Place in Philadelphia, which was damaged by fire on October 15, 2016. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 4, 5; Answer, Ex. C.) After the fire, Plaintiffs sought benefits under the Policy to repair the home and replace Elican and McCloud's personal property. (Compl. ¶¶ 7, 11.) Allstate inspected the home on October 19, 2016 and prepared an estimate of the cost to repair the home and replace insured personal property. (Answer ¶ 7, Ex. E.) Allstate subsequently paid Elican $115, 125.40 to repair the home, $160, 982.21 for damages to her personal property and $37.784.81 for additional living expenses. (Id.) Allstate did not pay McCloud for any damage to his personal property, asserting that McCloud is not an insured person under the Policy. (Answer, Ex. F.) Elican at some point obtained four estimates, ranging from $310, 000 to $341, 000, to repair the home. (Compl. Ex. D.) Allstate did not pay Elican anything further to bridge the gap between its own estimate and those received by Elican.

         B

         In her written application for the Policy, Elican indicated several times that she was the only person living in the house.[3] (Answer, Ex. B.) She signed the application, affirming that the statements therein were true and in doing so asked Allstate to rely on her representations when issuing the Policy. (Id.) The Policy took effect on June 21, 2012. (Answer, Ex. G.) Allstate subsequently sent Elican the Policy Declarations which, consistent with the application, list only her as the insured. (Id.) In 2012, the Policy was updated to reflect new mortgage information (Answer, Ex. H) and increased coverage limits (Answer, Ex. I); Elican remained the only named insured (Answer, ¶¶ 45-54). In 2013, the home's mortgage information was amended again, with Elican again remaining the sole name insured. (Id. at ¶¶ 55-58, Ex. J.) Elican renewed the Policy in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. (Answer, ¶¶ 59-70, Exs. K-N.) With each renewal, she received from Allstate the Renewal Declarations listing her as the only named insured. (Id.) The Policy in effect on the day of the fire, October 15, 2016, does not indicate that anyone other than Elican was covered. (Answer, Ex. A.)

         After the fire, Allstate wrote Elican a letter telling her that McCloud's personal property was not insured because he was not an “insured person” as that term is defined in the Policy.[4] (Answer, Ex. F.) Elican then immediately added McCloud to the Policy and Allstate confirmed the change in an October 20, 2016 Notice (Compl., Ex. A); the Notice contained a Policy Endorsements page listing McCloud as an additional insured, effective as of October 21, 2016. (Id.)

         II

         A court may grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings if the movant establishes that there are no material issues of fact and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Sikirica v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 214, 220 (3d Cir. 2005). When a non-moving party's answer denies a material allegation, that denial creates a question of fact that prevents the Court from granting a motion for judgment on the pleadings. See Citizens Ins. Co. of Am. v. Selective Way Ins. Co., 98 F.Supp.3d 782, 788 (E.D. Pa. 2015) (citing Inst. for Scientific Info., Inc. v. Gordon & Breach, Science Publishers, Inc., 931 F.2d 1002, 1008 (3d Cir. 1991)). A party may move for judgment on the pleadings “[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). In deciding a Rule 12(c) motion, the court may consider the pleadings, any attached exhibits, matters of public record and any undisputedly authentic documents attached to the motion if the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents. Atiyeh v. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford, 742 F.Supp.2d 591, 595 (E.D. Pa. 2010) (citation omitted). The court must view the facts and any inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Sikirica, 416 F.3d at 220.

         When the defendant's motion contends that the plaintiff failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted, courts assess the claims under a Rule 12(b)(6) standard. See Atiyeh, 742 F.Supp.2d at 595; Turbe v. Gov't of Virgin Is., 938 F.2d 427, 428 (3d Cir. 1991). Under that standard, a plaintiff must articulate enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). It is not enough for a plaintiff to allege mere “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. The plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). The court “may disregard any legal conclusions.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”).

         III

         A

         In Count I, Plaintiffs allege that Allstate failed to pay benefits to which they are entitled under the Policy. (Compl. ¶¶ 9-13.) Allstate argues that McCloud does not have standing to allege a breach of the insurance contract because he was not a named insured and thus has no contractual relationship with Allstate.[5] (Mot. ¶ 69.) To state a claim for breach of contract, a plaintiff must plead and prove:

(1) the existence of a contract to which the plaintiff and ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.