MONDRON v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. For the reasons stated in the Memorandum filed herewith, Defendant's Motion for Partial Dismissal of the Complaint (Doc. 6 ) is GRANTED. Plaintiff's bad faith claim in Count II of the Complaint is dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend. Plaintiff shall file any amended Complaint on or before January 3, 2017. Plaintiff's claim under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law is dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Cathy Bissoon on 12/21/16. (jwr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ROBERT R. MONDRON,
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE )
Civil Action No. 16-412
Judge Cathy Bissoon
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Pending before the Court is a motion (Doc. 3) by Defendant State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company (“Defendant”) seeking partial dismissal of the Complaint. For
the reasons that follow, Defendant’s motion will be GRANTED.
A. Factual and Procedural Background
On October 13, 2013, Plaintiff Robert R. Mondron (“Plaintiff”) was a passenger in a
motor vehicle that was being driven by Christopher Stewart (“Stewart”) on Ewalt Road in
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Compl. at ¶ 6 (Doc. 1-4). Stewart lost control of the vehicle,
allowing or causing it to strike a utility pole that was off of the roadway. Id. at ¶ 7. As a result
of this single-vehicle accident, Plaintiff sustained head and facial injuries, internal injuries, shock
and injury to his nervous system. Id. at ¶¶ 7, 10.
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was insured under a vehicular insurance policy
issued by Defendant to Plaintiff’s parents. Compl. at ¶ 5. The policy included underinsured
motor vehicle coverage in the amount of $150,000.00. Id. at ¶ 15.
On or about May 14, 2014, Stewart tendered the full limits on his own automobile
liability insurance policy, which was $100,000.00. Compl. at ¶ 12. The settlement was made
with the express consent and permission of Defendant. Id.; see also Compl. Ex. A (Doc. 1-4).
Plaintiff then sought to recover underinsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits from Defendant
on the grounds that Stewart was underinsured. Compl. at ¶ 13. According to the Complaint,
Defendant “unreasonably delayed in adequately handling Plaintiff’s [UIM] claim,” id. at ¶ 17,
“inadequately investigated [the] claim,” id. at ¶ 18, and “failed to make a reasonable offer of
settlement,” id. at ¶ 19, all the while acting with knowledge and/or reckless disregard of “its lack
of reasonable basis in evaluating Plaintiff’s [UIM] claim.” Id. at ¶ 20. Through its conduct,
Defendant allegedly violated provisions of Pennsylvania’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act
(“UIPA”), 40 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 1171.1 et seq., as well as Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices
and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”), 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 201-1 et seq..
On April 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court, asserting a claim
for UIM benefits in Count I of his Complaint and a claim for alleged bad faith and UTPCPL
violations in Count II. See Notice of Removal at ¶¶ 1, 5-6 (Doc. 1); Compl. (Doc. 1-4). On the
basis of diversity jurisdiction, Defendant removed the lawsuit to this forum on April 8, 2016.
On April 3, 2016, Defendant filed the pending motion for partial dismissal of the
Complaint. (Doc. 3). Defendant seeks a dismissal of Count II on the ground that Plaintiff has
failed to plead factual content sufficient to set forth a plausible claim for bad faith. To the extent
Plaintiff is asserting a claim under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer
Protection Law (“UTPCPL”), Defendant requests that said claim be dismissed on the grounds
that: (a) the claim is barred by the “Economic Loss Rule,” and (b) the complaint fails to state
facts in support of all the required elements of a UTPCPL claim.
B. Standard of Review
“To 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)).
When faced with a motion to dismiss, a court “must accept all of the complaint’s well-pleaded
facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). See Henderson v. Borough of Baldwin, No. 15-1011, 2016 WL
5106945, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 20, 2016).
C. Legal Analysis
1. Plaintiff’s Bad Faith Claim
Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute 1 provides that:
In an action arising under an insurance policy, if the court finds that the insurer
has acted in bad faith toward the insured, the court may take all of the following
(1) Award interest on the amount of the claim from the date the claim was
made by the insured in an amount equal to the prime rate of interest plus 3%.
(2) Award punitive damages against the insurer.
(3) Assess court costs and attorney fees against the insurer.
42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8371 (West). The statute does not define “bad faith,” or “set forth the
manner in which an insured must prove bad faith.” Rancosky v. Washington Nat. Ins. Co., 130
A.3d 79, 92 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2015), reargument denied (Feb. 25, 2016), pet. for app. granted, ___
As this Court is exercising diversity jurisdiction, it will apply the substantive law of
Pennsylvania in the analysis of Defendant’s motion. See Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d
154, 158 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).
A.3d ____, 2016 WL 4530028 (Pa. Aug. 30, 2016) (Mem.). However, the Pennsylvania
Superior Court has defined bad faith as meaning:
“[a]ny frivolous or unfounded refusal to pay proceeds of a policy; it is not
necessary that such refusal be fraudulent. For purposes of an action against an
insurer for failure to pay a claim, such conduct imports a dishonest purpose and
means a breach of a known duty (for example, good faith and fair dealing),
through some motive of self-interest or ill will; mere negligence or bad judgment
is not bad faith.”
Terletsky v. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 649 A.2d 680, 688 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1994) (quoting
Black’s Law Dictionary 139 (6th ed. 1990)).
To prove such a claim, “a plaintiff must show by clear and convincing evidence that the
insurer (1) did not have a reasonable basis for denying benefits under the policy and (2) knew or
recklessly disregarded its lack of a reasonable basis in denying the claim.” Condio v Erie Ins.
Exch., 899 A.2d 1136, 1143 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2006) (citing Terletsky, 649 A.2d at 688); Klinger v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 115 F.3d 230, 233 (3d Cir. 1997)). Although the essence of bad
faith is the insurer’s frivolous or unfounded refusal to pay benefits, the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit has recognized that bad faith conduct may encompass an insurer’s unreasonable
lack of investigation into the facts or failure to communicate with the insured. See Frog, Switch
& Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Travelers Ins. Co., 193 F.3d 742, 751 n.9 (3d Cir. 1999). “Bad faith claims
are fact specific and depend on the conduct of the insurer vis à vis the insured.” Condio, 899
A.2d at 1143 (citing Williams v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 750 A.2d 881, 887 (Pa. Super. Ct.
Defendants argue that Count II of the complaint should be dismissed because the
complaint does not set forth factual content that is sufficient to support a plausible bad faith
claim. The Court agrees.
The gravamen of Plaintiff’s bad faith claim is that the Defendant unreasonably denied
UIM benefits to which Plaintiff is entitled under the terms of his parents’ insurance policy. As
noted, he alleges that Defendant “unreasonably delayed” the handling of his claim, Compl. at
¶ 17, “inadequately investigated” the claim, id. at ¶ 18, “failed to make a reasonable offer of
settlement,” id. at ¶ 19, and “knew of or recklessly disregarded its lack of reasonable basis in
evaluating Plaintiff’s underinsured motorist claim.” Id. at ¶ 20. These types of conclusory
allegations are insufficient to state a plausible basis for relief. See James v. City of WilkesBarre, 700 F.3d 675, 679 (3d Cir. 2012) (on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must disregard
“mere conclusory statements”); Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010)
(court should identify allegations that “are no more than conclusions [and] are not entitled to the
assumption of truth”).
Elsewhere, plaintiff alleges violations of the UIPA by invoking boilerplate, statutory
language and/or generic “bad faith” catchphrases. See, e.g., Compl. at ¶ 21(a) (alleging that
Defendant “[did] not attempt in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlement
of the subject claim”; id. at ¶ 21(b) (Defendant “compell[ed] the Plaintiff to institute litigation to
recover the amount fairly and equitably due. . . ,”); id. at ¶ 21(c) (Defendant “fail[ed] to promptly
provide a reasonable explanation” for its settlement offer); id. at ¶ 21(d) (Defendant “attempt[ed]
to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed he
was entitled”); id. at ¶ 21(f) (Defendant “unreasonably extend[ed] a low settlement offer”); id. at
¶ 21(g) (Defendant “extend[ed] a settlement offer which bears no reasonable relationship to the
injuries and damages suffered); id. at ¶ 21(i) (Defendant “fail[ed] to treat the Plaintiff fairly”); id.
at ¶ 21(j) (Defendant “fail[ed] to properly evaluate the Plaintiff’s claims”). In essence, these
allegations are nothing more than redundant and conclusory re-assertions of Plaintiff’s prior bad
faith allegations. Plaintiff’s generic invocation of statutory language is insufficient to satisfy his
federal pleading burden. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (a “pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do’”)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 544-55).
Plaintiff also alleges violations of the UTPCPL in connection with Count II. To that end,
he claims that “Defendant has engaged in unfair methods of competition and/or unfair or
deceptive acts or practices in the context of any trade or commerce,” Compl. at ¶ 22(a), and
“Defendant has engaged in improper conduct which has created a likelihood of confusion or
misunderstanding. . . .” Id. at ¶ 22(b). Here again, these averments are nothing more than a
generic paraphrasing of statutory language. See 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 201-3 and 201-2(4)(xxi).
As such, they do not state a plausible basis for relief.
In numerous cases, federal courts addressing similar types of allegations have concluded
that the plaintiff’s averments were insufficient to state a viable claim for bad faith. See, e.g.,
Murphy v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. CV 16-2922, 2016 WL 4917597, at *3 (E.D. Pa.
Sept. 15, 2016) (no claim stated where plaintiff alleged, e.g., that insurer “Fail[ed] to objectively
and fairly evaluate Plaintiff’s UIM claim,” “Ma[de] settlement offers which its [sic] knows are
insultingly low,” “Engag[ed] in dilatory and abusive claims handling,” and “Fail[ed] to promptly
offer payment to the Plaintiff”); Liberty Ins. Corp. v. PGT Trucking, Inc., No. 2:11-cv-151, 2011
WL 2552531, at *4 (W.D. Pa. June 27, 2011) (bad faith allegations were insufficient where
claimant asserted a laundry list of twenty-nine (29) generalized accusations, including allegations
that insurer failed to adequately defend, failed to adequately investigate, failed to settle at
appropriate values, failed to supervise and manage claims, failed to act in the best interests of
claimant and/or failed to adequately protect claimant’s interests); Eley v. State Farm Ins. Co.,
No. 10-5564, 2011 WL 294031, at *3-4 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 31, 2011) (dismissing bad faith claim
where plaintiff alleged that the defendant insurance company lacked reasonable basis in “(a)
fail[ing] to negotiate plaintiffs’ [UIM] claim in good faith[;] (b) fail[ing] to properly investigate
and evaluate plaintiff[s’] insurance claim[;] and (c) such other acts to be shown through
discovery”)(alteration in original); Atiyeh v. National Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford, 742 F. Supp. 2d
591, 599-600 (E.D. Pa. 2010) (no plausible bad faith claim stated where plaintiff alleged that
defendant insurer (1) falsely and fraudulently represented that plaintiff had not performed routine
maintenance on the premises; (2) unreasonably refused to indemnify plaintiff for his loss; and (3)
breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by: (a) failing to conduct a reasonable
investigation, (b) denying benefits to plaintiff without a reasonable basis, (c) knowingly or
recklessly disregarding the lack of a reasonable basis to deny plaintiff’s claim, or (d) asserting
policy defenses without a reasonable basis); Muth v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 1:CV-101487, 2010 WL 3805386, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 22, 2010) (dismissing bad faith claim where
plaintiff alleged, among other things, that insurer failed: “to conduct a reasonable and fair
investigation of the claim”; “to pay the claim within a reasonable period of time”; “to attempt to
come to a fair and reasonable settlement of the claim when liability is clear”; “to promptly
provide a reasonable explanation for denial of the claim”; and “to specifically detail evidence of
reason to deny [the] claim.”).
Absent from the complaint in this case are “any facts that describe who, what, where,
when, and how the alleged bad faith conduct occurred.” Liberty Ins. Corp., 2011 WL 2552531,
at *4. Because Plaintiff has failed to state a plausible basis for recovery under Pennsylvania’s
bad faith statute, Count II of the Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.
2. Plaintiff’s UTPCPL Claim
The Court will next consider whether Plaintiff has stated an independent claim for relief
under the UTPCPL. The purpose of the UTPCPL “is to protect consumers from ‘fraud and
unfair or deceptive business practices.’” Doherty v. Allstate Indem. Co., Civil Action No. 155165, 2016 WL 5390638, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 27, 2016) (citing Commonwealth ex rel. Corbett
v. Peoples Benefit Servs., 923 A.2d 1230, 1236 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2007)). To that end, the
UTPCPL prohibits “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in
the conduct of any trade or commerce,” as defined by other provisions of the statute. 73 Pa. Stat.
Ann. §§ 201-3 and 201-2(4). Further, the UTPCPL provides a private cause of action to “[a]ny
person who purchases or leases goods or services primarily for personal, family or household
purposes and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a
result of the use or employment by any person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful.”
Id. at § 201-9.2(a). Where liability is established, the court may, in its discretion, award up to
three times the actual damages sustained, as well as costs and reasonable attorney fees. Id.
Here, the complaint does not set forth a claim under the UTPCPL by way of a separate
count, but it does assert that Defendant violated the law by “failing to settle Plaintiff’s
underinsured motorist claim in a prompt, fair, and equitable fashion.” Compl. at ¶ 23; see also
id. at ¶ 22(a) and (b). The complaint also includes a request for treble damages. Id. at ¶ 23. In
his brief in opposition to the pending motion, Plaintiff acknowledges that he is asserting a
separate UTPCPL claim. See Pl.’s Br. Opp. to Def.’s Partial Mot. Dismiss (Doc. 7) at 6-8.
Defendant contends that this claim should be dismissed because: (a) it is barred by the
“economic loss doctrine” and (b) the facts alleged in the complaint fail to state a claim for relief.
As the Court finds the second argument dispositive, it need not reach the first.
“To maintain a private right of action under the UTPCPL, a plaintiff must demonstrate
(1) ‘ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal,’ [73 Pa. Stat. Ann.] § 201–9.2(a),
(2) ‘as a result of’ the defendant’s prohibited conduct under the statute.” Kaymark v. Bank of
Am., N.A., 783 F.3d 168, 180 (3d Cir. 2015)(quoting 73 Pa. Stat. Ann §201-9.2(a) and citing
Yocca v. Pittsburgh Steelers Sports, Inc., 854 A.2d 425, 438 (Pa. 2004)), cert. denied sub nom.
Udren Law Offices, P.C. v. Kaymark, 136 S. Ct. 794, 193 L. Ed. 2d 710 (2016). Pennsylvania
courts have interpreted Section 201-9.2(a)’s language as implying a requirement that the plaintiff
demonstrate justifiable reliance on the defendant’s deceptive or fraudulent conduct. See, e.g.,
Hunt v. U.S. Tobacco Co., 538 F.3d 217, 222–23 (3d Cir. 2008) (“The Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania has consistently interpreted the Consumer Protection Law’s private-plaintiff
standing provision’s causation requirement to demand a showing of justifiable reliance, not
simply a causal connection between the misrepresentation and the harm.”); Duffy v. Lawyers
Title Ins. Co., 972 F. Supp. 2d 683, 694 (E.D. Pa. 2013) (“Due to the causation requirement in
the UTPCPL’s standing provision, 73 Pa. Stat. § 201–9.2(a) (permitting suit by private plaintiffs
who suffer loss as a result of the defendant’s deception), a private plaintiff pursuing a claim
under the statute must prove justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation or wrongful conduct
resulting injury.”) (citing cases).
In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges wrongful conduct under 73 P.S. §§ 201-3 and 201-2(4).
Section 201-3 generically prohibits “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts
or practices,” while Section 201-2(4) defines this concept in more specific terms. Based on a
liberal reading of the complaint, it appears Plaintiff is alleging that Defendant violated the
“catch-all” provision of Section 201-2(4)(xxi), which prohibits persons from “[e]ngaging in any
other fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or of
misunderstanding.” See Compl. ¶22(b) (“Defendant has engaged in improper conduct which has
created a likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding. . . .”). 2
Defendants contend that Plaintiffs averments are insufficient to establish a violation of
the UTPCPL or a right of recovery. This argument is well-taken. Even construing the
Complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, it fails to set forth factual content that could
satisfy the required elements of his claim.
First, Plaintiff has not pled any deceptive act or conduct on the part of Defendant. For
purposes of the UTPCPL, a deceptive act is understood as “one that is ‘likely to deceive a
consumer acting reasonably under similar circumstances.’” Doherty v. Allstate Indem. Co., No.
CV 15-05165, 2016 WL 5390638, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 27, 2016) (quoting Seldon v. Home Loan
Servs., Inc., 647 F. Supp. 2d 451, 470 (E.D. 2009)). Relevantly,
[i]n Belmont v. MB Inv. Partners, Inc., 708 F.3d 470, 498 (3d Cir. 2013), the
Third Circuit Court of Appeals predicted how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
would interpret “deceptive conduct.” The court examined the Pennsylvania
Superior Court’s decision in Fazio v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 62 A.3d 396 (Pa.
Super. 2012), and noted that the “district court decisions on which Fazio relied
suggest that deceptive conduct does not require proof of the elements of common
law fraud, but that knowledge of the falsity of one’s statements or the misleading
quality of one’s conduct is still required.” Belmont, 708 F.3d at 498. The Third
Circuit also cited Wilson v. Parisi, 549 F. Supp. 2d 637, 666 (M.D. Pa. 2008), for
the proposition that a deceptive act is “the act of intentionally giving a false
impression or a tort arising from a false representation made knowingly or
recklessly with the intent that another person should detrimentally rely on it.”
Belmont, 708 F.3d at 498 (internal quotations omitted).
Doherty, 2016 WL 5390638, at *5. Here, Plaintiff has proffered only general allegations that the
Defendant engaged in “improper conduct which has created a likelihood of confusion or
misunderstanding. . . .” Compl. at ¶ 22(b). However, “[g]eneral allegations that defendant
engaged in deceptive conduct without specifying what that deceptive conduct actually was are
Complaint Paragraph 22(b) actually references Section 201-2(4)(xvii) of the UTPCPL; this
latter provision prohibits certain conduct in the course of “[m]aking solicitations for sales of
goods or services over the telephone,” and is patently inapplicable here.
insufficient; a plaintiff must identify the specific act, omission or misrepresentation ‘in order to
demonstrate that such confusion or misunderstanding was caused by certain acts or omissions on
the part of the Defendants.’” Doherty, 2016 WL 5390638, at *6 (quoting Farmerie v. Kramer,
No. 2071 WDA 2014, 2015 WL 6507844, at *9 (Pa. Super. Oct. 27, 2015)).
Second, Plaintiff has not pled facts that could establish his justifiable reliance on the
Defendant’s alleged wrongful conduct. Fundamentally, Plaintiff’s allegations relate not to the
sale of the UIM policy but to the Defendant’s conduct during the claims handling process.
However, “[a]llegations of misconduct in the claims handling process are not actionable under
the UTPCPL.” Doherty, 2016 WL 5390638, at *8. Instead, such claims are properly asserted
under Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute. See Gibson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., No. 151038, 2015 WL 2337294, at *4 (E.D. Pa. May 13, 2015) (noting that the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court in Toy v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 928 A.2d 186, 202–03 (Pa. 2007), “appeared to
recognize a legislative scheme in which misconduct relating to the selling of a policy is governed
by the [UTPCPL] and misconduct related to the handling of claims allegedly due under the
policy is governed by the bad faith statute.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Accordingly, numerous courts have dismissed UTPCPL actions which were premised on
misconduct during the claims handling process. See, e.g., Doherty, 2016 WL 5390638, at *7
(“While the UTPCPL applies to the sale of an insurance policy, it does not apply to the handling
of insurance claims.”) (internal quotation marks, alteration, and citation omitted); Murphy v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 16–2922, 2016 WL 4917597, at *6 (E.D. Pa. Sep. 15, 2016)
(“[T]to the extent that Ms. Murphy’s Complaint stems from State Farm’s refusal to pay the full
amount of her UIM claim, such ‘nonfeasance,’ as opposed to ‘malfeasance,’ or the improper
performance of contractual duties, is not actionable under the UTPCPL.”); Phillips v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-1919, 2015 WL 3454537, at *3-4 (M.D. Pa. May
29, 2015) (plaintiff could not state UTPCPL claim by alleging that he justifiably relied on
defendant insurer’s improper investigation of his claim); Monck v. Progressive Corp., No.
15-250, 2015 WL 1638574, at *7 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 13, 2015)(“Plaintiff could not have justifiably
relied on the way Defendants handled her claim.”) ; Smith v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No.
CIV.A. 11-7589, 2012 WL 508445, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 16, 2012) (plaintiff could not have
justifiably relied on the way in which insurer handled her claim because “[o]n ‘issues such as
liability, damages, coverage or even procedure, [UIM] claims ... are inherently and unavoidably
arm’s length and adversarial.’”) (quoting Zappile v. Amex Assur. Co., 928 A.2d 251, 256 (Pa.
Super. Ct. 2007)) (second alteration and ellipsis in the original), aff’d, 506 F. App’x 133 (3d Cir.
In sum, Plaintiff has failed to state a viable claim for damages under the UTPCPL.
Because the defects in his claim cannot feasibly be cured through amendment, and because the
alleged mishandling of Plaintiff’s UIM claim is more properly addressed in the context of
Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute, the UTPCPL claim will be dismissed with prejudice.
The Court notes that Plaintiff also appears to impermissibly base his UTPCPL claim, in part,
upon alleged violations of the UIPA. See Compl. at ¶ 22 (“By virtue of the fact that the
Defendant has failed to comply with the standards established in the Unfair Insurance Practices
Act, ... the Defendant has violated the Unfair Insurance Practices Act and Consumer Protection
Law. . . .”). The UIPA, 40 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 1171.5, is “enforced by the Insurance Commissioner
of the Commonwealth.” Hardy v. Pennock Ins. Agency, Inc., 529 A.2d 471, 478 (Pa. Super. Ct.
1987) (internal citations omitted). Notably, “there is no private cause of action under the UIPA.”
Smith v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 935 F. Supp. 616, 620 (W.D. Pa. 1996). Accordingly,
“an alleged violation of the [UIPA] cannot and will not be entertained by [the] Court,” even
when it is “set forth as the basis of another claim.” Gordon v. Pa. Blue Shield, 548 A.2d 600,
603 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1988). To the extent Plaintiff’s UTPCPL claim is based upon a violation of
the UIPA, this Court lacks jurisdiction over the claim. See id. (court lacked jurisdiction over
plaintiff’s UTPCPL claim to the extent that it asked the court to determine whether defendant
violated the UIPA); Smith, 935 F. Supp. at 622 (same).
For the reasons stated above, Defendant’s Motion for Partial Dismissal of the Complaint
(Doc. 6) is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s bad faith claim in Count II of the Complaint is dismissed
without prejudice and with leave to amend. Plaintiff shall file any amended Complaint on or
before January 3, 2017. Plaintiff’s claim under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer
Protection Law is dismissed with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
December 21, 2016
United States District Judge
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