JUNE 2015 BAD FAITH CASES: INSURED’S COMPLAINT LACKS SPECIFICITY AND IS DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE SUBJECT TO DISCOVERY BEING TAKEN (Philadelphia Federal)

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In Canizares v. Hartford Insurance Company, the insured brought breach of contract and bad faith claims. The bad faith claim was dismissed without prejudice, as it failed to meet the Twombly/Iqbal standards of pleading a plausible claim, rather than simply asserting legal conclusions.

The court observed that the insured’s “rudimentary allegations” all contained legal conclusions, “which are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” On the one claim coming closest to being adequate, that the insurer failed to respond to the benefits claim in a reasonable time, the court found this inadequate because the complaint failed “to include any specific dates detailing when the claim was submitted and when [the insurer] responded.”

However, the court did not dismiss with prejudice, in the eventuality that facts could later be developed in discovery that would form the basis of a bad faith claim. “Indeed, discovery into the handling of this claim will certainly be among the next steps in the case, and it may well be that the [insured] will seek permission to resume the bad-faith claim. They will be permitted to seek such permission if the facts so warrant.”

Date of Decision: May 27, 2016

Canizares v. Hartford Ins. Co., No. 16-1465, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69668 (E.D. Pa. May 27, 2016)

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