Rodriguez v. Integon Indemnity Corporation
ORDER: Defendant Integon Indemnity Corporation's Motion to Dismiss 3 is granted to the extent that Rodriguez's complaint is dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend on or before March 21, 2014. Signed by Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington on 3/3/2014. (CH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 8:14-cv-292-T-33TBM
INTEGON INDEMNITY CORPORATION,
This matter comes before the Court in consideration of
Defendant Integon Indemnity Corporation’s Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. # 3) filed on February 5, 2014.
Rodriguez filed a response in opposition to the Motion (Doc.
# 5) on February 14, 2014.
For the reasons that follow, the
Motion is granted in part.
This case arises from an October 28, 2010, automobile
accident in which a motor vehicle owned by non-parties George
and Estrella Monteclaro caused bodily injury to Alexander
(Doc. # 1 at ¶¶ 5-6).
At all times relevant to
the instant action, Integon insured the Monteclaros with
bodily injury liability coverage pursuant to an automobile
(Id. at ¶ 4).
After the accident, Alexander Rodriguez made a claim
against the Monteclaros, and Integon “offered to pay the sum
of $100,000.00 to Anthony Rodriguez[,] [which] offer was
conditioned on the Plaintiff executing a Release of All
(Id. at ¶¶ 6-7) (emphasis added).
does not allege what response, if any, Alexander Rodriguez
provided Integon with regard to this offer and proposed
Rodriguez ultimately filed suit against the Monteclaros
and was awarded a final judgment in excess of the bodily
injury insurance coverage limits.
(Id. at ¶ 9).
2, 2014, Rodriguez initiated this action against Integon by
filing a two-count complaint for “common law bad faith” (Count
attempting in good faith to settle the Plaintiff’s claim when
information in its possession which would cause a reasonably
prudent person to have settled the claim . . . .”
(Id. at ¶
On February 5, 2014, Integon removed the action to this
Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332.
(Doc. # 1).
Also on February 5, 2014, Integon
filed the instant Motion to Dismiss.
(Doc. # 3).
filed a response in opposition to the Motion on February 14,
The Court has reviewed the Motion as well as the
response and is otherwise fully advised in the premises.
In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim, a trial court accepts as true all factual allegations
in the complaint and construes the facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.
Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomms.,
372 F.3d 1250, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004).
However, courts are
not “bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286
In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, the Supreme Court
articulated the standard by which claims should be evaluated
on a motion to dismiss:
While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiff’s obligation to provide
the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted).
Procedure 8(a) calls “for sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
A plausible claim for relief must
include “factual content [that] allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
The Court notes that the present Motion to Dismiss has
not been converted into a motion for summary judgment in
accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) because
the Court has not considered matters outside the pleadings.
As explained below, although Integon has appended various
Dismiss, and additionally filed a “supplemental exhibit” in
support of the Motion to Dismiss on February 28, 2014 (Doc.
# 8), the Court finds a review of such documents unnecessary
at this juncture.
against Integon: (1) common law bad faith and (2) statutory
(Doc. # 2).
A “bad faith” action arises in situations where an
insurer has breached its contractual duty of good
faith. Specifically, [t]he contractual duty of the
insure[r] to defend justifies an implication that
the insurer will exercise ordinary care and good
faith in so proceeding.
Accordingly, when an
insurer under such a policy contract undertakes to
defend an action against the insured and becomes
involved in negotiations for settlement, the law
imposes the duty that it act therein in good faith.
Continental Cas. Co. v. City of Jacksonville, 550 F. Supp. 2d
1312, 1335-36 (M.D. Fla. 2007) (internal citations omitted).
“The essence of a ‘bad faith’ insurance suit (whether it
is brought by the insured or by the injured party standing in
his place), is that the insurer breached its duty to its
insured by failing to properly or promptly defend the claim
. . . which results in the insured being exposed to excess
Kelly v. Williams, 411 So. 2d 902, 904 (Fla. 5th
In its Motion to Dismiss, Integon does not directly argue
that the facts within the Complaint fail to state a claim for
either common law or statutory bad faith.
argues that any such claim must “fail as a matter of law”
because (1) “the plain language of the release proposed by
claims,” rather, Integon contends that the language of the
proposed release “was limited to claims for bodily injury,”
and (2) “even if the proposed release could be construed in
the manner suggested by [Rodriguez], the subject release was
a proposed release.”
(Doc. # 3 at 1).
Thus, Integon presumes
that Rodriguez’s “bad faith claims are built upon the premise
proactive tender of its bodily liability limits required
claims and, therefore, placed an unreasonable condition upon
Integon’s proactive settlement offer.”
(Id. at 4).
However, in response to the Motion, Rodriguez clarifies
that “the main crux of [this action is] not so much that there
was a condition of release, but that Defendant offered to pay
someone other than the Plaintiff.”
(Doc. # 5 at 1) (emphasis
Specifically, Rodriguez explains that “the
attachments to the original Complaint in this matter . . .
“Anthony Rodriguez” $100,000.00 in insurance proceeds for the
injuries sustained by the Plaintiff, Alexander Rodriguez.”
(Id. at 2).
Accordingly, Rodriguez argues that he has stated
a claim for bad faith in light of Integon’s “complete failure
to timely offer to settle this matter (whether conditioned
upon a release or not) and to tender payment to Alexander
Rodriguez, rather than to the unknown ‘Anthony Rodriguez.’”
(Id. at 2-3) (emphasis in original).
The role of the Court at this juncture is not to resolve
the factual question of whether Integon’s alleged actions
constitute a bad faith failure to settle Rodriguez’s claim.
Rather, the Court’s inquiry is limited to whether Rodriguez
has alleged sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.
that end, the Court finds that the complaint in this case
fails to meet the fundamental requirement that a complaint
contain sufficient details to provide the defendant with
“fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
dearth of factual allegations in the complaint surrounding
Integon’s purported bad faith failure to settle has resulted
in a Motion to Dismiss that reflects Integon’s confusion as
to what Rodriguez characterizes as the “crux” of the bad faith
claims in this case – Integon’s act of offering the release
to “Anthony” rather than “Alexander” Rodriguez.
the Court notes that, apart from the date of the October 28,
information regarding the time frame in which the alleged
events transpired, and additionally contains no information
Integon’s proposed release of claims.
The Court therefore grants Integon’s Motion to Dismiss
to the extent that the Court dismisses Rodriguez’s complaint,
without prejudice, so that Rodriguez may have an opportunity
to amend the complaint and more clearly allege the grounds
for the bad faith claim in this case.
If Rodriguez intends
to file an amended complaint, Rodriguez is directed to do so
on or before March 21, 2014.
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED:
Dismiss (Doc. # 3) is granted to the extent that Rodriguez’s
complaint is dismissed without prejudice and with leave to
amend on or before March 21, 2014.
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers in Tampa, Florida, this 3rd
day of March, 2014.
Copies: All Counsel of Record
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