Allen et al v. Verizon Wireless et al
RULING granting 139 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Janet C. Hall on 10/25/2013. (Perez, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
QUEEN M. ALLEN, ET AL.,
VERIZON WIRELESS, ET AL.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
OCTOBER 25, 2013
RULING RE: PROFESSIONAL DISABILITY ASSOCIATES’ MOTION TO DISMISS
(Doc. No. 139)
Defendant Professional Disability Associates (“PDA”) moves to dismiss Counts
11, 12, and 15 asserted against it in the Sixth Amended Complaint of plaintiffs Queen
M. Allen and Waltrina Rene Whitman. Professional Disability Associates’ Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. No. 139) at 1. PDA contends that these Counts must be dismissed
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because they fail to state a claim
for which relief can be granted. Id. The standard of review for Rule 12(b)(6) and the
factual background of this case are outlined in the court’s June 6, 2013 Ruling. Ruling
Re: MLS Group of Companies’ Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 91), Professional Disability
Associates’ Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 92), Verizon Wireless’s Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. No. 93), Metlife’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 98), Metlife’s Motion to Strike (Doc.
Nos. 125, 129), and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply (Doc. No. 128)
(hereinafter “Ruling”) (Doc. No. 131) at 1-7.
The Ruling acknowledged that plaintiffs’ claims for Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress (IIED) and breach of contractual duty against PDA were without
factual allegations. Id. at 11, 24. The court, however, permitted plaintiffs to replead
those claims with plausibly supporting facts. Id. Plaintiffs have repled these claims as
Counts 11 and 12 (breach of contractual duty) and Count 15 (IIED) in their Sixth
Amended Complaint. Sixth Amended Complaint (“Sixth Am. Compl.”) (Doc. No. 133) at
¶¶ 312-76, 390-408.
Counts 11 and 12
Count 11 of the Sixth Amended Complaint states that “Allen pleads a
seventeenth cause of action for breach of contractual duty against Metlife.” Sixth Am.
Compl. at ¶ 313. Count 12 similarly pleads that Metlife breached its contractual duty,
this time to Whitman. Id. at ¶ 343. PDA contends that these claims are also brought
against it, because both counts state that PDA breached a contractual duty it owed to
Metlife and that “Allen [has] established Professional Disability Associates[’] liability.”
Professional Disability Associates’ Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
No. 140); see also Sixth Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 336-37, 340, 367-68, 371.
In its prior Ruling, the court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims of breach of contractual
duty against PDA, with leave to replead, because the Fifth Amended Complaint was
void of factual allegations that plausibly alleged that Allen was a third-party beneficiary
to the contract between Metlife and PDA. See Ruling at 23-24. The Sixth Amended
Complaint similarly fails to plausibly plead that Allen was a third-party beneficiary to this
contract.1 The allegations in Counts 11 and 12 that PDA breached this contract are, in
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to PDA’s Motion to Dismiss does not correct this deficiency. The
Opposition notes that Allen alleges that PDA “intended to assume a direct obligation to the
plaintiffs,” but provides no citation to any allegations in the Complaint that support, or even
reiterate, this statement. Plaintiffs’ Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant[s’] Professional
Disability Associates[’] Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 150) at 3-4. The Opposition also states that
PDA is a subcontractor to Metlife, and that Metlife had a contract with Verizon Wireless. Id. at
4. Neither fact, however, establishes that Allen was a third-party beneficiary to PDA’s contract
fact, identical to the Fifth Amended Complaint’s allegations of the same. Compare Sixth
Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 336-37, 340, 367-68, 371 with Fifth Amended Complaint (“Fifth Am.
Compl.”) (Doc. No. 88) at ¶¶ 318-19, 322, 349-50, 353. As the court found that the Fifth
Amended Complaint did not “plausibly suggest that PDA and MLS intended to assume
a direct obligation to Allen or Whitman,” Ruling at 24, it must reach the same conclusion
here, where plaintiffs have made no new allegations of such an obligation. Thus,
Counts 11 and 12 are dismissed against PDA.
Count 15 repleads plaintiffs’ claims for IIED against PDA. In its prior Ruling, the
court dismissed, with leave to replead, plaintiffs’ IIED claims against PDA because the
allegations did not raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Ruling at 10-11.
The Sixth Amended Complaint states that, “[a]ll Defendants, and each of them, knew or
reasonably should have known that the conduct described herein would and did
proximately result in emotional and physical distress to Plaintiffs.” Sixth Am. Compl. at
¶ 392. The Sixth Amended Complaint also claims that, “[a]t all relevant times, all
Defendants, and each of them, had the power, ability, authority, and duty to stop
engaging in the conduct described herein and/or to intervene to prevent or prohibit said
conduct.” Id. at at ¶ 393. Despite these amendments, however, the Sixth Amended
Complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to plausibly allege all elements of an IIED
with Metlife, or that PDA intended to create such a contract with Allen. See Grigerik v. Sharpe,
247 Conn. 293, 311-12 (1998) (“[T]he ultimate test to be applied [in determining whether a
person has a right of action as a third party beneficiary] is whether the intent of the parties to
the contract was that the promisor should assume a direct obligation to the third party
[beneficiary].” (emphasis in original) (quotation marks and citations omitted)).
claim,2 and thus contains no new allegations to alter the court’s previous Ruling on this
Plaintiffs assert that the Sixth Amended Complaint provides “a basis for
concluding that PDA had knowledge of Allen and Whitman based on the medical
information provided by PDA to Metlife,” and that this fact supports the first element of a
claim for IIED. Plaintiffs’ Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant[s’] Professional
Disability Associates[’] Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 150) at 4-5. PDA’s mere knowledge
of Allen and Whitman, however, does not plausibly suggest that PDA intended to inflict
emotional distress upon them, or that PDA knew or should have known that its conduct
would result in emotional distress to them. Plaintiffs further argue that a PDA doctor’s
usage of Whitman’s medical information in conducting a medical review of Allen,
resulting in an inaccurate review, was extreme and outrageous. Id. at 5-6. The court’s
prior Ruling found this argument unsupported by the factual assertions in the Fifth
Amended Complaint. Ruling at 11. The Sixth Amended Complaint alleges even fewer
facts supporting such a finding than the Fifth Amended Complaint did, and is absent of
any allegation that PDA’s conduct here was extreme and outrageous. Compare Sixth
Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 394-402 with Fifth Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 390-97. Plaintiffs, then, have not
made out a viable IIED claim against PDA; thus, Count 15 must be dismissed.
Under Connecticut state law, a plaintiff must prove four elements to prevail on a claim
(1) that the actor intended to inflict emotional distress; or that he
knew or should have known that emotional distress was a likely
result of his conduct; (2) that the conduct was extreme or
outrageous; (3) that the defendant's conduct was the cause of the
plaintiff's distress; and (4) that the emotional distress sustained by
the plaintiff was severe.
DeLaurentis v. City of New Haven, 220 Conn. 225, 266-67 (1991) (citations omitted).
As Plaintiffs’ Sixth Amended Complaint fails to sufficiently allege facts in support
of their claims of breach of contractual duty and IIED against PDA, Counts 11, 12, and
15 against PDA are dismissed. PDA’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 139) is, therefore,
Dated at New Haven, Connecticut this 25th day of October, 2013.
__/s/ Janet C. Hall ________
Janet C. Hall
United States District Judge
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