Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation v. Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.

Filing 16

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting 11 MOTION to Dismiss; AMIC's 1 Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend no later than 3/22/2010. Signed by Honorable William Keith Watkins on 3/1/2010. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(wcl, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION A L A B A M A MUNICIPAL INSURANCE C O R P O R A T IO N , P la in tif f , v. A L L IA N T INSURANCE SERVICES, IN C ., formerly known as DRIVER A L L IA N T INSURANCE SERVICES, f o rm e rly known as ROBERT F. DRIVER A S S O C IA T E S , D e f e n d a n ts. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C A S E NO. 2:09-CV-928-WKW [WO] M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER P la in tif f Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation ("AMIC") brings this action a g a in s t Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. ("Alliant"), alleging various claims arising out of one o r more contracts. (Compl. (Doc. # 1).) This cause is before the court on Alliant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for More Definite Statement. (Docs. # 11, 12.) AMIC opposes the motion. (Doc. # 14.) After careful consideration of counsel's arguments, th e relevant law, and the record as a whole, the court finds that Alliant's motion to dismiss is due to be granted. I. STANDARD OF REVIEW P u rs u a n t to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant may m o v e to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint; thus, in assessing the merits of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must assume that a ll the factual allegations set forth in the complaint are true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1 9 3 7 , 1949 (2009). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient f a c tu a l matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (q u o tin g Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).). A complaint need not c o n ta in "detailed factual allegations," but must include enough facts "to raise a right to relief a b o v e the speculative level on the assumption that all allegations in the complaint are true (e v e n if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545. II. DISCUSSION T o state a valid claim for breach of contract under Alabama law, "a plaintiff must p ro v e : `(1) the existence of a valid contract binding the parties in the action, (2) [it's] own p e rf o rm a n c e under the contract, (3) the defendant's nonperformance, and (4) damages.'" Employees' Benefit Ass'n v. Grissett, 732 So. 2d 968, 975 (Ala. 1998) (quoting Southern M e d . Health Sys., Inc. v. Vaughn, 669 So. 2d 98, 99 (Ala. 1995)). In support of its claim for b re a c h of contract, AMIC alleges that it "contracted with [Alliant] to obtain policies of r e in s u ra n c e through a variety of companies for losses AMIC incurred between 2000 and 2 0 0 5 ." (Compl. 4.) AMIC then lists the various "reinsurance contracts" and contends that " u n d e r the `notice of loss' provision" for each policy, AMIC "properly provided" Alliant w ith notice of loss, but Alliant "failed to properly transmit that loss" to the various reinsurers. 2 (Compl. 8, 14, 20, 26, 32, 33.1 ) Alliant's alleged failure to timely transmit notices of loss re s u lte d in either denial of claims or loss of interest due to late payment. (Compl. 9, 16, 2 2 , 28, 35.) AMIC's claim that Alliant breached "the contract with AMIC" (Compl. 37 (e m p h a s is added)) creates a reasonable inference that there exists one legally binding c o n t ra c t between AMIC and Alliant requiring Alliant to "obtain policies of reinsurance th ro u g h a variety of companies." (Compl. 4.) However AMIC does not allege that Alliant b re a c h e d this specific contract; rather, AMIC alleges that Alliant violated the "notice of loss" p ro v is io n s in each of the individual reinsurance contracts (Compl. 8, 14, 20, 26, 32, 33). Notably, AMIC does not claim that Alliant was a party to these various reinsurance contracts. Thus, taking all the facts in the complaint as true and making all reasonable inferences in f a v o r of AMIC, there is a disconnect between the legally binding contract and the breach its e lf a disconnect that Alliant is left to bridge with speculative assumptions.2 B a se d on the foregoing, the court finds that the complaint does not "contain sufficient f a c tu a l matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Accordingly, it is It appears that paragraph thirty-three of the complaint erroneously restates the preceding paragraph. The complaint is replete with ambiguities. For example, paragraph 11 refers to "policies"; paragraphs 12, 13, and 14, apparently referencing paragraph 11, refer to one "policy"; and paragraph 15 refers to what appear to be two insurance companies, "Discover Re" and "Kemper Insurance Company," implying multiple policies. (Compl. 11-15.) 2 1 3 ORDERED that Alliant's motion to dismiss (Docs. # 11, 12) is GRANTED. AMIC's c o m p la in t (Doc. # 1) is DISMISSED with leave to amend no later than March 22, 2010. D O N E this 1st day of March, 2010. /s/ W. Keith Watkins UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 4

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