United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Metropolitan Direct Property and Casualty Insurance Company
("MetLife") moves this Court to dismiss Plaintiff
Carol Kunsman's bad faith claim (Count II) and strike any
reference to the Unfair Insurance Practices Act
("UIPA"). Ms. Kunsman's Amended Complaint
alleges one count breach of contract and one count bad faith.
MetLife's argues Ms. Kunsman's Amended Complaint
consists of threadbare allegations supported by mere
conclusory statements and should therefore be dismissed.
MetLife also argues Ms. Kunsman's reference to the UIPA
should be stricken from the Amended Complaint as immaterial
and not relevant to Ms. Kunsman's claim. For the reasons
that follow, MetLife's Motion to Dismiss will be denied
in part and granted in part.
Kunsman suffered "sudden and accidental direct physical
loss" to her insured premises. (ECF Docket No. 8, ¶
8.) Ms. Kunsman provided MetLife with a timely notice of
covered loss and included all available information.
(Id. at ¶ 7.) MetLife determined Ms. Kunsman
suffered loss to property covered under the policy but did
not completely indemnify Ms. Kunsman for the loss.
(Id. at Â¶ 9.) MetLife denied coverage for certain
aspects of the claim. (Id.)
Ms. Kunsman suffered water damage containing human waste and
"[MetLife's] estimate of repairs did not include
payment for the removal and replacement of all porous
material that came into contact with the contaminated
water." (Id. at Â¶Â¶ 15, 24.) Ms. Kunsman alleges
MetLife's failure to include payment for removal and
replacement of all areas affected by contaminated water did
not comply with the standards acknowledged by the insurance
and construction industries. (Id. at Â¶¶ 23-24.)
And, MetLife knew that its estimate of repairs and ultimate
payment did not comply with the insurance and construction
industries for damage caused by contaminated water.
(Id. at Â¶Â¶ 25-26.) Ms. Kunsman alleges MetLife
grossly underestimated the extent of the damage and grossly
underpaid Ms. Kunsman's claim and therefore committed bad
faith. (Id. at ¶¶ 26-27.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Ashcroft Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Ail. Corp. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
A claim satisfies the plausibility standard when the facts
alleged "allow the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Burtch Millberg Factors, Inc., 662
F.3d 212, 220-21 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678). While the plausibility standard is not
"akin to a 'probability requirement, '"
there nevertheless must be more than a "sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are
'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability,
it 'stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief."'
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Court of Appeals requires us to apply a three-step analysis
under a 12(b)(6) motion: (1) "it must 'tak[e] note
of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to state a
claim;'" (2) "it should identify allegations
that, 'because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth;'" and, (3)
"[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
[the] court should assume their veracity and then determine
whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for
relief." Connelly Lane Construction Corp., 809
F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 675, 679); see also Burtch, 662 F.3d at 221;
Malleus George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011);
Santiago Warminster Township, 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), "the court
may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any
redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter." Fed. R. Ci P. 12(0- In a Rule 12(f) motion, the
court must view the pleadings in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Darden-Munsell Dutch Maid
Logistics, 2011 WL 3325863, at *4 (W.D. Pa. 2011);
see also Tennis Ford Motor Co, 730 F.Supp.2d 437,
443 (W.D. Pa. 2010) quoting Natale Winthrop Resources
Corp., 2008 WL 2758238, at *14 (E.D. Pa. 2008)
("Striking some or all of a pleading is [... ]
considered a drastic remedy to be resorted to only when
required for the purposes of justice."). "Motions
to strike are not favored and usually will be denied unless
the allegations have no possible relation to the controversy
and may cause prejudice to one of the parties."
Id. (citing Mclnerney Moyer Lumber &
Hardware, 244 F.Supp.2d 393, 401 (E.D. Pa. 2002)).
Bad Faith in violation of 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8371
Pennsylvania bad faith, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8371, a
plaintiff must show: "(1) that the insurer lacked a
reasonable basis for denying benefits; and (2) that the
insurer knew or recklessly disregarded its lack of reasonable
basis." Terletsky Prudential Prop, and Cas. Ins.
Co., 649 A.2d 680, 688 (1994); see also Verdetto
State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 837 F.Supp.2d 480, 484
(M.D. Pa. 2011) (quoting Klinger State Farm Mut. Auto.
Ins. Co., 115 F.3d 230, 233 (3d Cir. 1997)); see
also Rancosky v Wash. National Insurance Company, 170
A.3d 364 (Pa. 2017) (adopting the two-pronged test and
holding that self-interest or ill will "is not a
prerequisite to prevailing in a bad faith claim under Section
8371"). Our Circuit defines bad faith on the part of the
[A]ny frivolous or unfounded refusal to pay proceeds of a
policy [that need not] be fraudulent. For purposes of an
action against an insurer for failure to pay a claim, such
conduct imports a dishonest purpose and means a breach of a
known duty (i.e., good faith and fair dealing), through some
motive of self-interest or ill will; mere negligence or bad
judgment is not bad faith.
Irving State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.,
2017 WL 4404396, at *3 (E.D. Pa. 2017) (dismissing a bad
faith claim as legally insufficient because the complaint did
not contain any explanations or descriptions of the alleged
bad faith conduct) (quoting Northwestern ...