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Vadella v. American States Insurance Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 19, 2019

JOSEPH VADELLA and ANN VADELLA, Plaintiffs,
v.
AMERICAN STATES INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          Mariani Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Statement of Facts and of The Case

         This case, which comes before us for consideration of two motions to dismiss the bad faith claim set forth in the plaintiffs' complaint, (Docs. 4 and 5), [1] involves a dispute relating to a claim under an automobile insurance policy and began its life as an action filed in state court that was later removed to federal court. The plaintiffs' initial complaint, which was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, names American States Insurance Company as the defendant and brings seven legal claims against American States, including a claim of breach of an insurance contract between the parties, (Doc. 2, Count 1), and a companion claim of breach of a state statutory duty of good faith in investigating and paying this insurance claim in violation of 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8371. (Doc. 2, Count 2.)

         In support of these legal claims, the plaintiff's complaint contains a 26-paragraph factual recital. (Id., && 1-26.) These well-pleaded allegations guide us in assessing the legal sufficiency of the complaint, and allege as follows:

5. Defendant, AMERICAN, issued a policy of insurance No. K2495825 to Plaintiffs, JOSEPH VADELLA and ANN VADELLA, covering their two automobiles a 2011 GMC Sierra K1500 Pick-up truck and a 2011 BMW 525I. A copy of the policy is attached hereto and marked as Exhibit “A”.
6. Defendant, AMERICAN, charged and collected a premium for underinsured motorist coverage on said policy.
7. Plaintiffs, JOSEPH VADELLA and ANN VADELLA, paid all premiums requested by Defendant, AMERICAN.
8. The same policy was in full force and effect on August 30, 2015.
9. On or about August 30, 2015, Plaintiff, JOSEPH VADELLA, was involved in a motor vehicle crash which directly caused him to sustain serious and severe life-threatening injuries some of which are permanent.
10. On August 30, 2015, Plaintiff, JOSEPH VADELLA, was insured for underinsured coverage in the amount of $250, 000.00, with stacking (two cars), by Defendant, AMERICAN, under policy K2495828.
11. As a result of the collision, Plaintiff, JOSEPH VADELLA, suffered severe and permanent injuries including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) neck sprain with severe pain and injuries to his cervical spine, more specifically identified as narrowing of disc space at the C4-C5, C5-C6 and C6-C7 with anterior and posterior osteophytes formation and narrowing of intervertebral foramina at the corresponding bilaterally with nerve root compression. Persistent multilevel degenerative spondylosis, degenerative bilateral facet edema at the C7-T1, bilateral foraminal stenosis at the C3-4, bilateral foraminal stenosis at the C4-5 and C5-6, bilateral foraminal stenosis with left foraminal disc protrusion at the C6-7, all of which pain radiates into his upper extremities;
(b) low back pain and injuries to his lumbar spine including degenerative disc disease with sharp shooting pain radiating into his left lower extremity and sciatica pain;
(c) radiculopathy and nerve injuries to the C8-T1 area;
(d) muscle spasms throughout his cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine;
(e) severe headaches;
(f) right hip pain;
(g) left ankle pain;
(h) right elbow pain;
(i) ongoing pain management, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment;
(j) ongoing and persistent pain aggravated by standing, sitting, walking, sexual activity, physical activities and elevating his arms;
(k) sleep disruption.
12. Defendant, AMERICAN, was promptly notified of Plaintiff, JOSEPH VADELLA's injuries.
13. As a result Defendant, AMERICAN, after and only after litigation against its parent company Safeco Insurance was initiated, began to pay and continues to pay medical ...

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