FASANO v. ALLSTATE INDEMNITY COMPANY
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE J. CURTIS JOYNER ON 7/26/17. 7/28/17 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(kw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ALLSTATE INDEMNITY COMPANY,
: CIVIL ACTION
: NO. 17-cv-1495
July 26, 2017
Before the Court are Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No.
3), Plaintiff’s Response in Opposition thereto (Doc. No. 4), and
Defendant’s Reply in further Support thereof (Doc. No. 5). For the
following reasons, Defendant’s Motion is granted.
Factual and Procedural Background1
This case arises out of a fire that occurred at Plaintiff’s
premises located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on or about January
(Compl. ¶¶ 3-4).
Following the fire, Plaintiff
presented an insurance claim to its insurer, Defendant Allstate
Id. at ¶ 4.
That claim was ultimately
adjusted for $182,739.11, subject to a hold-back of recoverable
Unless otherwise noted, the facts are taken from Plaintiff’s
Complaint. (“Compl.,” Doc. No. 3-3). In line with the standards
governing Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), all factual allegations in the
Complaint are generally accepted as true. See Phillips v. Cty. of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008).
depreciation of $58,075.29.
On June 2, 2015, Defendant
issued a payment to Plaintiff in the amount of $123,663.82, that
amount representing Defendant’s calculation as to the actual cash
value of Plaintiff’s loss, having accounted for depreciation and
Plaintiff’s $1,000 deductible.
(Compl., Ex. 3; Doc. No. 5, at p.
Believing that Defendant has wrongfully withheld benefits
owed Plaintiff under his insurance policy, including but not
limited to the roughly $58,000 in recoverable depreciation,
Plaintiff filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia
County in December 2016.
(Doc. No. 3-3).
Plaintiff’s Complaint to the United States District Court for the
Middle District of Pennsylvania, where this case was assigned to
the Honorable Richard P. Conaboy.
(Doc. No. 1-1).
stipulation of the Parties, Judge Conaboy thereafter transferred
this case to the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441.
Plaintiff’s Complaint asserts two claims against Defendant.
Count I alleges breach of contract, while Count II alleges that
Defendant acted in bad faith in violation of 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §
(Compl. ¶¶ 12, 14).
By its present Motion Defendant seeks
dismissal of Count II only, on the ground that the Complaint
lacks sufficient factual detail to state a claim for bad faith
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
(Doc. No. 3).
Standard of Review
A party may move to dismiss a complaint for failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Fed. R. Civ. P.
In considering such a motion, a district court must
“accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom.”
Prudential Invs. Fund Mgmt. LLC, 305 F.3d 140, 142 (3d Cir. 2002)
(quoting Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996)).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.’”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
Id. (citation omitted).
recitations of the elements of a claim supported only by
“conclusory statements” will not suffice.
Rather, a plaintiff must allege some facts to raise
the allegation above the level of mere speculation.
Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 176 (3d
Cir. 2010) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
plaintiff is entitled to all reasonable inferences from the facts
alleged, a plaintiff’s legal conclusions are not entitled to
deference, and the Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain,
478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).
To succeed on a bad faith claim under § 8371, a plaintiff
must demonstrate that (1) the insurer lacked a reasonable basis
for denying benefits under the insured's policy, and (2) the
insurer knew or recklessly disregarded the lack of a reasonable
Smith v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 506 Fed. App’x
133, 136 (3d Cir. 2012).
“Repeatedly, courts have dismissed bad
faith claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) where
the complaint set forth ‘bare-bones’ conclusory allegations that
did not provide a factual basis for an award of bad faith
Schor v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Ins. Co., No.
15–610, 2015 WL 1230200, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 18, 2015).
terms of a contract do not require a defendant insurer to confer
benefits to the insured plaintiff, then the denial of benefits in
accordance with those terms is necessarily reasonable.
Robbins v. Metro. Life Ins. Co. of Conn., No. 08-0191, 2008 WL
5412087, at *8 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 29, 2008).
Plaintiff’s Complaint offers a plethora of conclusory
allegations regarding Defendant’s unreasonableness,
misrepresentation, and unfairness without identifying how
something was done unreasonably, what specifically was
misrepresented, or what circumstances made some action unfair.
(Compl. ¶ 15).
In its opposition to Defendant’s Motion,
Plaintiff does little to elaborate on the allegations in his
Complaint, arguing only that Defendant’s investigation into his
claim for recoverable depreciation was “woefully inadequate” and
that the refusal to pay was unfounded and frivolous.
The remainder of Plaintiff’s argument is to repeat the
averments in Paragraph 15 of the Complaint and request that the
Court read them together.
Whether read together or alone,
however, these allegations lack any requisite factual detail
which would support a claim for bad faith.
See, e.g., Smith, 506
F. App’x at 136 (3d Cir. 2012) (affirming dismissal of bad faith
claim where complaint lacked details describing what was unfair
about allegedly unfair settlement negotiations); Schor, 2015 WL
1230200, at *4 (dismissing bad faith claim where “allegations
assert, in cursory fashion only, that Defendant lacked a
reasonable basis for denying Plaintiff’s claim for benefits,
without providing any factual allegations from which the Court
could make a plausible inference that Defendant knew or
recklessly disregarded its lack of a reasonable basis for denying
The Court also notes that the insurance policy central to
this dispute includes language stating that the amount withheld
as depreciation is recoverable in the form of an additional
payment if the damaged property is repaired or rebuilt within 180
days of the insurance payment.
(Doc. No. 3-4, at p. 19; Doc. No.
5, at p. 2).2
Because Defendant issued its actual cash value
payment to Plaintiff on or about June 2, 2015, Plaintiff had
until on or about December 2, 2015 to repair or rebuild the
insured property in order to recover additional payment.
Plaintiff has represented to the Court that he did not complete
repairs within that timeframe.
(Doc. No. 4, at ¶ 7).
uncontroverted basis for denial of benefits, as well as the
aforementioned defects, the Court holds that Plaintiff has failed
to state a cognizable claim for bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s Motion is granted and
Plaintiff’s bad faith claim is dismissed.
An appropriate Order
Because the insurance policy is integral to Plaintiff’s
Complaint, we may consider its contents on this Motion to Dismiss even
though it was not attached to Plaintiff’s Complaint. See Schmidt v.
Skolas, 770 F.3d 241, 249 (3d Cir. 2014); In re Burlington Coat
Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).
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