United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. ROBERT YEOMAN and JEAN E. YEOMAN, Plaintiffs,
STATE FARM FIRE & CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.
OPINION DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS, ECF, 4 -
F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
J. Robert Yeoman and Jean E. Yeoman have filed a Complaint
asserting a breach of contract claim against Defendant State
Farm Fire & Casualty Company, alleging that State Farm
failed to pay benefits owed to them under an insurance policy
after their home sustained damage from a rain and wind storm.
State Farm has filed a Motion to Dismiss the Yeomans'
Complaint, contending that it fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted. Because the Court finds that the
Complaint alleges each of the elements necessary to state a
claim for breach of contract under Pennsylvania law, the
Motion is denied.
Complaint, which was filed in state court and removed to this
Court by State Farm, the Yeomans allege the following facts.
Farm issued to the Yeomans an insurance policy, Policy No.
78-17-2712-8, covering the Yeomans' premises located at
4545 Fir Drive, Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Compl. ¶ 4. On
or about July 25, 2016, while the insurance policy was in
force, the Yeomans suffered a sudden and accidental direct
physical loss due to wind and rainstorm at the insured
premises, resulting in damage to the premises and the
Yeomans' personal property. Compl. ¶ 6. The Yeomans
allege that the extent of the damage is set forth in the
“Estimates of Loss of Metro Public Adjustment, Inc. and
various contractors, ” copies of which are attached to
the Complaint. See Compl. ¶ 6 & Exs. A, B,
and C. The Yeomans timely notified State Farm of the loss and
did everything required of them under the policy, but State
Farm has failed and refused to pay the Yeomans those benefits
due under the policy. Compl. ¶¶ 7-8. Finally, they
allege that as a result of State Farm's failure to pay
the benefits owed them, they have suffered losses exceeding
$50, 000. Compl. ¶ 9. On the basis of these allegations,
the Yeomans assert a breach of contract claim against State
response to the Yeomans' Complaint, State Farm filed the
present Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), contending that the Complaint
“provides only the barest bones of a statement about
[the] cause of action” and therefore fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. Def.'s Mem. Supp.
Mot. 2, ECF No. 4-2. Specifically, State Farm argues that the
Complaint “fails to state what terms State Farm may
have breached and only identifies damages by reference to
undefined estimates and invoices.” Id. In
short, according to State Farm, the Complaint fails to state
a claim for breach of contract because it “fails to
identify the terms of the contract which support the
existence of the claim, and fails to identify the particular
damages sustained as a result.” Id. at 4.
Yeomans respond that the Complaint has fulfilled the
requirements to state a claim for breach of contract under
Pennsylvania law by alleging the following:
the existence of a homeowner's insurance policy covering
the plaintiffs' home (i.e. the existence of a contract
and its essential terms); that the defendant is responsible
for paying benefits due and owing under the terms of the
policy following a loss event (i.e. a breach of a duty
imposed by the contract); and the damages suffered by the
plaintiffs as detailed in the invoices and estimates attached
as exhibits to the complaint (i.e. damages).
Pls.' Mem. Opp'n 8, ECF No. 5-2.
reply, State Farm argues that the Complaint is particularly
deficient in two respects.
the Complaint fails to notify State Farm of “exactly
what is being claimed as damages, ” because the
invoices attached to the Complaint “are not adequate in
that there is no reference to repairs actually made or
actually necessary as a result of whatever the loss is
claimed to be.” Def.'s Reply 1, ECF No. 7. Second,
State Farm contends that the Complaint is “at best,
vague with regard to the circumstances of the claimed
loss.” Id. at 2.
Standard of Review - Rule 12(b)(6)
rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, this Court must
“accept all factual allegations as true [and] construe
the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny,
515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche
Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002))
(internal quotation marks omitted). Only if “the
‘[f]actual allegations . . . raise a right to relief
above the speculative level'” has the plaintiff
stated a plausible claim. Id. at 234 (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 540, 555
(2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, “the
tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations
contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions.” Id. (explaining that determining
“whether a complaint states a plausible claim for
relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw on its judicial ...