United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JOSEPH D. DILEO, Plaintiff
FEDERATED LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant
M. MUNLEY JUDGE
before the court for disposition is Defendant Federated Life
Insurance Company's (“Federated”) motion for
partial summary judgment. (Doc. 27). The parties have fully
briefed this matter, and it is ripe for disposition.
13, 2012, Federated issued Disability Income Insurance Policy
681889 (“Policy”) to the plaintiff. (Doc. 28,
Statement of Facts ¶ 5). The Policy provides that
Federated will pay a total disability benefit while plaintiff
is totally disabled or a partial disability benefit while
plaintiff is partially disabled. (Id.) On March 5,
2015, plaintiff alleges that while he was getting out of a
truck at work, he slipped and fell on his left side. (Doc.
28, Statement of Facts ¶ 21). Plaintiff claims that the
fall aggravated a pre-existing injury of his cervical spine
and caused him to suffer a new injury to his left shoulder.
(Id. at ¶ 22) Disability caused by
plaintiff's cervical spine condition is not covered under
the Policy. (Id. at ¶ 25) On April 16, 2015,
plaintiff was examined by Dr. Gerald Gibbons, who opined that
the fall on March 5, 2015 exacerbated the plaintiff's
pre-existing cervical spine condition. (Id. at
¶ 27) Additionally, Dr. Gibbons wrote that plaintiff
should not be doing any heavy lifting and that he was
disabled from the heavy-duty mechanic work he used to do.
(Id. at ¶ 29)
August 25, 2015, plaintiff notified Federated of a claim for
disability benefits under the Policy resulting from an injury
which allegedly occurred on March 5, 2015. (Id. at
¶ 72) After compiling and reviewing the record,
Federated informed the plaintiff that his claim was denied on
June 24, 2016. (Id. at ¶ 87)
then filed an action in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne
County for breach of contract and bad faith on March 12, 2018
and Federated removed the action to this court on March 20,
2018. (Doc. 1, Notice of Removal). After the close of
discovery, Federated moved for partial summary judgment on
the claim of bad faith, bringing the case to its current
posture. (Doc. 27, Federated's Motion for Partial Summary
court has jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity jurisdiction
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff is a Pennsylvania
citizen and the defendant is a citizen of Minnesota. (Doc. 1,
Notice of Removal ¶ 2-3). 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 remove 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 Railroad Co. v.
Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).
summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Knabe v.
Boury, 114 F.3d 407, 410 n.4 (3d Cir. 1997) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). “[T]his standard provides that the
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is
that there be no genuine issue of material
fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original).
considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
examine the facts in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion. Int'l Raw Materials, Ltd. v.
Stauffer Chemical Co., 898 F.2d 946, 949 (3d Cir. 1990).
The burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could not return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248. A fact is material when it might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law. Id. Where the
non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the
party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by
showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced
to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the
non-movant's burden of proof at trial. Celotex v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party
satisfies its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving
party, who must go beyond its pleadings and designate
specific facts by the use of affidavits, depositions,
admissions, or answers to interrogatories showing that there
is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.
argues that summary judgment is appropriate because plaintiff
is unable as a matter of law to prove by clear and convincing
evidence that the defendant acted in bad faith pursuant to 42
Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8371. We disagree.
8371 does not define “bad faith, ” but
Pennsylvania courts have adopted the following definition of