Silvester v. American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus
OPINION AND ORDER granting 10 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and the Complaint is dismissed without prejudice to filing an Amended Complaint within 14 days of this Opinion and Order. Signed by Judge John E. Steele on 4/29/2014. (RKR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
Case No: 2:14-cv-105-FtM-29CM
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on review of defendant’s
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. #10) filed on March
Plaintiff filed a Response to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. #17) on April 15, 2014.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a Complaint
must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
This obligation “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(citation
To survive dismissal, the factual allegations must be
“plausible” and “must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.”
Id. at 555.
See also Edwards v. Prime
Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010).
This requires “more
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(citations
Silvester) a Short Term Disability Policy, Policy No. PL179478
(the Policy) (Do. #2-1, Exh. A).
On or about March 29, 2013,
plaintiff became disabled and entitled to benefits under the
policy, but was allegedly wrongfully denied benefits pursuant to
a letter dated October 31, 2013, denying benefits because of a
lack of documentation. (Doc. #2-2, Exh. B.) In Count I, plaintiff
seeks declaratory relief as to the parties’ respective rights and
obligations under the Policy. In Count II, plaintiff seeks damages
as a direct result of defendant’s breach by failing to provide
A. Count I – Declaratory Relief
Defendant argues that Count I fails to state a claim because
it does not identify a provision or definition of the Policy
subject to interpretation or clarification.
The Court agrees.
Count I generally seeks a declaration with regard to the
Policy at issue, but fails to provide any allegations of an
ambiguity in the Policy, or why plaintiff is “in doubt about” his
rights under the Policy, see Fla. Stat. § 86.021, or if there
exists a present need for a declaration after coverage has been
denied, Marco Island Cable, Inc. v. Comcast Cablevision of the S.,
Inc., 509 F. Supp. 2d 1158, 1163 (M.D. Fla. 2007) (“Where there is
no longer a bona fide, actual, or present need for a declaration,
a court lacks jurisdiction to grant relief under the Florida
Declaratory Judgment Act.
Santa Rosa County v. Admin. Comm’n,
Div. of Admin. Hearings, 661 So. 2d 1190 (Fla. 1995).”).
motion to dismiss will be granted with leave to amend.
Under the Florida Declaratory Judgment Act, “[t]he existence
of another adequate remedy does not preclude a judgment for
Fla. Stat. § 86.111.
A plaintiff could
recover damages under a breach of contract theory and obtain
declaratory relief in the same case for “full, adequate and
complete relief”, although declaratory relief is discretionary.
McIntosh v. Harbour Club Villas Condo. Ass'n, 468 So. 2d 1075,
1081 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985).
Therefore the argument that plaintiff is
precluded from bringing a declaratory claim together with a breach
of contract claim is rejected.
B. Count II – Breach of Contract
“An adequately pled breach of contract action requires three
elements: (1) a valid contract; (2) a material breach; and (3)
Friedman v. New York Life Ins. Co., 985 So. 2d 56, 58
alleges that the Policy is the contract at issue, the Complaint is
otherwise devoid of any factual allegations as to what action
defendant took to breach the Policy, or what damages plaintiff
suffered as a result of a denial of coverage, or why denying
coverage for the basis stated in the letter was a breach of the
Therefore, the motion to dismiss will be granted with
leave to amend.
Accordingly, it is now
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc.
#10) is GRANTED and the Complaint for Declaratory Relief and
Complaint within FOURTEEN (14) DAYS of this Opinion and Order.
DONE AND ORDERED at Fort Myers, Florida, this
Counsel of record
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