United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
insurance dispute arises out of a motor vehicle accident
involving plaintiff George Rhoades
("plaintiff") and a third-party tortfeasor.
Plaintiffs seek damages from defendants Mid-Century Insurance
Company ("Mid-Century") and Farmers Insurance
Group, Inc. ("Farmers") stemming from their refusal
to pay underinsured motorist benefits to plaintiffs.
Presently before the Court is Defendants‘ Motion to
Dismiss. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
facts as alleged in Plaintiffs‘ Complaint are as
follows. On May 6, 2014, plaintiff was employed as a captain
in the Upper Darby Policy Department. Compl. ¶ 8. While
in the scope of his employment, plaintiff was involved in an
automobile accident at the intersection of Lansdowne and Huey
Avenues in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Compl. ¶ 9. At
that time, a third-party tortfeasor drove into the
intersection, ignoring a red traffic light, and struck
plaintiff‘s police vehicle. Compl. ¶ 10. As a
result of the accident, plaintiff suffered injuries
including, but not limited to, traumatic brain injury, severe
spinal injuries, and chronic cognitive dysfunction, and will
never work again as a police officer. Compl. ¶¶ 19,
February 23, 2014, plaintiff obtained automobile insurance
from Mid-Century and/or Farmers. Compl. ¶ 33. Plaintiff
selected an insurance policy that included
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Compl. ¶ 34.
The policy limit for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
was $200, 000. Compl. ¶ 35, Ex. A. Despite multiple
attempts by plaintiff, the parties have been unable to agree
on the amount of underinsured motorist benefits that
plaintiff is entitled to recover. Compl. ¶¶ 41, 50.
filed the Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware
County on January 31, 2018, asserting the following claims:
Count I) violation of Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices
Act, 40 Pa. Stat. § 1171.1, et seq.
("UIPA"); Count II) bad faith; Count III) breach of
contract/breach of fiduciary duty; Count IV) underinsured
motorist claim; Count V) violation of Pennsylvania Unfair
Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 Pa. Stat.
§ 201.1, et seq. ("UTPCPL"); and
Count VI) loss of consortium.
filed a Notice of Removal on February 20, 2018, and a Motion
to Dismiss on February 22, 2018. Plaintiffs responded on
March 8, 2018. The Motion is thus ripe for review. For the
reasons that follow, Defendants‘ Motion to Dismiss is
granted in part and denied in part.
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that, in response to a pleading, a defense of "failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted" may
be raised by motion to dismiss. To survive a motion to
dismiss, the complaint must allege facts that
"'raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.‘" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499
F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint must
contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.‘" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A
district court first identifies those factual allegations
that constitute nothing more than "legal
conclusions" or "naked assertions."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557. Such allegations are
"not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must
be disregarded. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The court
then assesses the remaining "'nub‘ of the
plaintiff[‘s] complaint-the well-pleaded, nonconclusory
factual allegation[s]"-to determine whether the
complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id.
present two arguments in support of their Motion to Dismiss:
(1) the Court should dismiss Counts I and V of the Complaint
because plaintiffs fail to allege that defendants made a
fraudulent representation; and (2) the Court should dismiss
all claims against Farmers because it did not issue the
insurance policy and because it is a federally registered
service mark and not a legal entity that can be sued. The
Court addresses each argument in turn.
Count I and V of the Complaint
argue that the Court should dismiss Counts I and V of the
Complaint because an insurance company can be liable under
the UTPCPL only if a plaintiff shows that the insurance
company made a fraudulent representation and plaintiff relied
on such representation. On this issue, plaintiffs no not aver
in the Complaint that ...