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Nguyen v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 8, 2019



          CHAD F. KENNBY, J.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Tony Tung Nguyen, a prisoner currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institute in Somerset, filed pro se a Second Amended Complaint against Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company[1] ("Allstate") based on allegations that Allstate acted in bad faith by failing to provide insurance coverage for a collapsed carport and related damage. ECF No. 15. Allstate filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim contending, among other things, the following: 1) Plaintiffs claim for breach of contract should be dismissed pursuant to the suit limitation provision in the insurance policy; 2) Plaintiffs claim for bad faith should be dismissed because Plaintiff has not alleged facts sufficient to warrant a finding of bad faith against Allstate; 3) Plaintiffs claim for negligence should be dismissed based on the gist of the action doctrine; and 4) Plaintiffs claim for unjust enrichment should be dismissed because there is a written contract between the parties. ECF No. 23. Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's motion. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 23-1) will be granted in part and denied in part.

         II. Background

         Plaintiff alleges that in 2015 he purchased a homeowner's insurance policy from Allstate on property he owned in Philadelphia. ECF No. 15 at ¶ 9. According to the Second Amended Complaint, an Allstate agent represented to Plaintiff in late 2015 or early 2016 that Plaintiff would be covered by the policy if he built a carport extending from his house. Id. at ¶¶ 12-13. Plaintiff began building the carport in late 2016, but he was not able to complete the project because he had been sentenced to house arrest. Id. at ¶ 14. On March 14 or 15 of 2017, a snowstorm damaged Plaintiffs home and caused the carport to collapse. Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, under the insurance policy, "has a duty under their contract of insurance as well as under Pennsylvania law to provide coverage for the loss that took place[] and timely make payments for the damages, and repairs for dwelling, and personal property for the Plaintiff." Id. at ¶ 59. Although Plaintiff alleges at one point in the Second Amended Complaint that "Defendant ha[s] been provided with proof of loss, pictures of loss, depreciation values sheet, and age of damages personal property," Plaintiff later alleges that he was "never able to send pictures of damages or loss to Defendant" because Defendant's agent did not respond to him, which constitutes "bad faith." Id. at ¶¶ 60, 70-71. Ultimately, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant refused to pay Plaintiffs claims so that he could "repair [his] home and secure the property." Id. at ¶ 68.

         Based on those allegations, Plaintiff filed suit on November 19, 2018, appearing to allege claims under state law for breach of contract, bad faith, professional negligence, and unjust enrichment. Id. at pg. 1. Notably, the Second Amended Complaint does not explicitly address the purported counts for breach of contract and professional negligence. Id. Rather, Plaintiff only explicitly sets forth its counts for bad faith and unjust enrichment. Id.

         Under his claim for bad faith, Plaintiff alleges that Allstate was informed of the demands for payments for his claims and Allstate "unreasonably refused to make payments or responses to Plaintiff." Id. at ¶ 58. Further, Plaintiff alleges that Allstate "made Plaintiff look bad by making Plaintiff file [] six different claims for [the] one incident," id. at ¶ 62; that Allstate's agent terminated Plaintiffs insurance policy because of those multiple filed claims, id. at ¶ 63; that Allstate's agent provided Plaintiff with false information as to what his insurance policy would cover, id. at ¶ 66; and that Allstate "never responded or gave Plaintiff any information to who Plaintiff can write to so Plaintiff can get more information on his claim and appeal," id. at ¶ 67.

         Under his claim for unjust enrichment, Plaintiff alleges that Allstate benefited from Plaintiffs payment for his insurance policy "and never made any effort to pay for any damages covered in [the contract]." Id. at ¶ 78.

         The insurance policy at issue here[2] contains a suit limitation clause, which states as follows:

         Action Against Us

         No one may bring an action against us in any way related to the existence or amount of coverage, or the amount of loss for which coverage is sought, under a coverage to which Section I Conditions applies, unless:

a) there has been full compliance with all policy terms; and
b) the action is commenced within one year after the inception of ...

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