Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fuentes v. USAA General Indemnity Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 22, 2019

BOBBY FUENTES, Administrator of the Estate of Alejandro Santos, decedent, Plaintiff,
v.
USAA GENERAL INDEMNITY COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge.

         Presently before me is the Motion to Dismiss Count Three of Plaintiff's Complaint - Bad Faith (Doc. 3) filed by Defendant USAA General Indemnity Company (“USAA”). Specifically, USAA contends that the Complaint fails to set forth sufficient facts to support a claim for an alleged violation of Pennsylvania's bad faith statute, 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8371. Because the facts as alleged in the Complaint state a plausible bad faith cause of action, USAA's motion to dismiss will be denied.

         I. Background

         The facts as alleged in the Complaint are as follows:

         On December 25, 2015, Plaintiff Bobby Fuentes' (“Fuentes”) son, Alejandro Santos (“Santos”), was a passenger in an automobile operated by Alaysia English (“English”). (See Doc. 1, Ex. “5”, ¶¶ 10, 25). The automobile was owned by Santos and insured by USAA. (See id.). As English and Santos traveled southbound on Long Pond Road, Tobyhanna Township, Pennsylvania, their vehicle collided with an automobile operated by Frank May (“May.”). (See id. at ¶¶ 11-12). Santos suffered fatal injuries as a result of the accident. (See id. at ¶ 13; see also id. at ¶¶ 28-32).

         At the time of the accident, USAA provided a policy of insurance to Fuentes numbered GIC 02660 5391 7102 7 (the “Policy”). (See id. at ¶ 17). The Policy insured a 2005 Saturn Vue, a 2013 Ford Explorer, and a 2014 Mercedes E Class, and provided for underinsured motorist coverage with limits of $100, 000.00 per person and $300, 000.00 per accident. (See id. at ¶ 19). The Policy states: “[w]e will pay compensatory damages which a covered person is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an underinsured motor vehicle because of BI sustained by a covered person and caused by an auto accident.” (Id. at Ex. “A”, 17). “Covered person” is defined as: “1. You or any family member. 2. Any other person occupying your covered auto. 3. Any person for damages that person is entitled to recover because of BI to which this coverage applies sustained by a person described in 1. or 2. above.” (Id. at Ex. “A”, 15-16). “Family member, ” for purposes of the Policy, is “a person related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption who resides primarily in your household.” (Id. at Ex. “A”, 3). The address listed for Fuentes on the Policy was 1057 Delaware Lane, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. (See id. at Ex. “A”, 1). At the time of the accident, Santos was living at Fuentes' household. (See id. at ¶ 24).

         May was not insured on the day of the accident, while the vehicle English was driving had $15, 000.00 in liability coverage. (See id. at ¶ 27). The $15, 000.00 limit was tendered on May 30, 2017. (See id.).

         On or about December 22, 2017, Fuentes filed a Praecipe for Writ of Summons in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. (See id. at ¶ 34). The following month, Fuentes' counsel sent a letter of representation to USAA. (See id. at ¶ 35). On March 22, 2018, Fuentes contacted USAA's counsel concerning whether any additional policies were in effect at the time of the accident besides the policy covering the vehicle in the collision. (See id. at ¶ 36). By letter dated October 5, 2018, Fuentes made a demand for policy limits on the Policy issued to Fuentes. (See id. at ¶ 37).

         On November 6, 2018, USAA confirmed that it had offered policy limits on the policy issued to Santos. (See id. at ¶ 38). USAA also indicated at that time that it did not have sufficient information to confirm that Santos was covered by the Policy issued to Fuentes, so it requested information supporting the fact that Santos was covered by that Policy. (See id. at ¶ 39). In other words, USAA was questioning Santos' residency status at the time of the accident. (See id.).

         On February 19, 2019, Fuentes, in response to USAA's November 6, 2018 correspondence, sent USAA the following proofs of Santos' residency: driver's license; local tax form; 2015 W2 form; 2016 W2 form; signed and notarized authorizations from Fuentes and his wife; and a bill for ambulance services from the day of Santos' death. (See id. at ¶ 40). These documents all reflected Santos' address as 1057 Delaware Lane, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. (See id. at ¶ 43).

         By letter dated March 11, 2019, USAA advised Fuentes that it needed to “engage in discovery to develop the facts, ” so it requested that Fuentes file a Complaint. (See id. at ¶ 41). Two days later, USAA filed a Praecipe for Rule to File Complaint in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. (See Doc. 1, ¶ 2).

         The three-Count Complaint was filed by Fuentes on May 30, 2019 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County. (See Doc. 1, Ex. “5”). Count One of the Complaint asserts an underinsured motorist claim, Count Two alleges breach of contract, and Count Three sets forth a statutory bad faith cause of action. (See id., generally).

         USAA removed the action to this Court on June 28, 2019. (See Doc. 1, generally). On July 2, 2019, USAA moved to dismiss the bad faith claim in Count Three of the Complaint. (See Doc. 3, generally). The motion to dismiss has now been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.