United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the court for disposition is the motion to dismiss Plaintiff
Tami Pivtchev's amended complaint filed by Defendant
State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company. The matter has been
fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.
State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company insured plaintiff
pursuant to an automobile insurance agreement. (Doc. 5,
Amended Compl. ¶ 4). On June 2, 2016, plaintiff was
involved in an automobile accident in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
(Id. ¶ 8-10). Plaintiff suffered severe
personal injuries due to the accident including a cervical
herniation causing radiculopathy in the right arm and hand.
(Id. ¶ 13). Another driver caused the accident,
but that driver's insurance was insufficient to
compensate plaintiff for her injuries. (Id. ¶
sought underinsured motorist benefits from defendant, which
it has not paid. (Id. ¶ 23-24). The
underinsured motorists benefit limit on the policy is $25,
000.00. (Id. ¶ 21).
upon these facts plaintiff instituted the instant lawsuit on
November 12, 2018 by filing a two-count complaint in the
Court of Common Pleas for Luzerne County. The two counts are
breach of contract and bad faith. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages, interest, punitive damages and counsel
fees. (Id. ¶ 56).
January 25, 2019, defendant filed a “Notice of
Removal” of the case to this court. (Doc. 1). Defendant
then filed a motion to dismiss the bad faith claim and the
demand for attorney's fees in Count I. (Doc. 2).
Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint, which raises the
same counts as the initial complaint. (Doc. 5). Defendant
then filed the instant motion to dismiss the bad faith claim
and demand for attorney's fees in the breach of contract
count, bringing the case to its present posture.
court has jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity statute, 28
U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff is a citizen of Pennsylvania.
(Doc. 1, Notice of Removal ¶ 12). Defendant is a citizen
of Illinois. (Id.) Additionally, the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. Because complete diversity of
citizenship exists among the parties and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000, the court has jurisdiction over
this case. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332
(“district courts shall have original jurisdiction of
all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the
sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs,
and is between . . . citizens of different states[.]”);
28 U.S.C. § 1441 (A defendant can generally move a state
court civil action to federal court if the federal court
would have had original jurisdiction to address the matter
pursuant to the diversity jurisdiction statute). As a federal
court sitting in diversity, the substantive law of
Pennsylvania shall apply to the instant case. Chamberlain
v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 158 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing
Erie R.R. v. Tomkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).
filed their motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court tests the
sufficiency of the complaint's allegations when
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. All well-pleaded
allegations of the complaint must be viewed as true and in
the light most favorable to the non-movant to determine
whether, “‘under any reasonable reading of the
pleadings, the plaintiff may be entitled to
relief.'” Colburn v. Upper Darby Twp., 838
F.2d 663, 665-66 (3d Cir. 1988) (quoting Estate of Bailey
by Oare v. Cnty. of York, 768 F.2d 503, 506 (3d Cir.
1985)). The plaintiff must describe “‘enough
facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will
reveal evidence of' [each] necessary element” of
the claims alleged in the complaint. Phillips v. Cnty. of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556
(2007)). Moreover, the plaintiff must allege facts that
“justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the
next stage of litigation.” Id. at 234-35. In
evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint the court may also
consider “matters of public record, orders, exhibits
attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record
of the case.” Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran
& Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). The court does not have to accept legal
conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences. See
Curay-Cramer v. Ursuline Acad. of Wilmington, Del.,
Inc., 450 F.3d 130, 133 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Morse
v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.
federal rules require only that plaintiff provide “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief, ” a standard which
“does not require detailed factual allegations, ”
but a plaintiff must make “a showing, rather than a
blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief that rises above
the speculative level.” McTernan v. N.Y.C.,
564 F.3d 636, 646 (3d Cir. 2009) (citations and internal
quotations and quotation marks omitted). The “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). Such
“facial plausibility” exists “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[T]he factual
detail in a complaint [cannot be] so undeveloped that it does
not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is
contemplated by Rule 8.” Phillips, 515 F.3d at
232 (citation omitted). “Though a complaint ‘does
not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'” DelRio-Mocci v. Connolly Props.,
Inc., 672 F.3d 241, 245 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Supreme Court has counseled that a court examining a motion
to dismiss should “begin by identifying pleadings that,
because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled
to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Next, the court should make a context-specific
inquiry into the “factual allegations in ...