49 CONCLUSORY ALLEGATIONS ACCOMPANIED BY 5 FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS NOT SUFFICIENT TO STATE PLAUSIBLE BAD FAITH CLAIM (Middle District)

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This UIM bad faith case was dismissed for failure to state a plausible claim.

The complaint includes 49 bad faith allegations that the court found conclusory.  As such, they have no value to plaintiff in making a plausible claim there is clear and convincing evidence to establish the insurer acted unreasonably and recklessly disregarded that fact.

Stripped of these 49 bare-bones allegations, the court found only 5 facts actually set out in the complaint.  These amounted to the following facts:  the insured was in an accident with a third party tortfeasor; the insured was injured as a result of third party negligence; the insured requested the carrier consent to a settlement with the third party’s insurer, which was granted; the insured made written demand for UIM benefits, accompanied by medical records and other documents; and while the carrier offered to settle, the insured did not find the offer sufficient.

Middle District Judge Saporito these cursory allegations did not make out the elements of a bad faith claim.  There were no facts supporting a plausible claim that the insurer’s conduct was unreasonable, or that the insurer acted knowingly or in reckless disregard of its unreasonable conduct.  Quoting Eastern District Judge Buckwalter’s 2015 Pasqualino opinion, summarized here, the court states:

“While such assertions perhaps suggest that a bad faith claim is possible, they do not allow for any non-speculative inference that a finding of bad faith is plausible.” … Thus, the bad faith claim as presently constructed does not meet the pleading requirements of Iqbal and Twombly. We will, however, grant … leave to file an amended complaint as it is not clear that an amendment would be futile. … Failure to [re-plead a plausible bad faith claim in an amended complaint, however,] will result in the dismissal of this claim with prejudice.

Date of Decision:  October 1, 2021

Allman v. Metropolitan Group Property & Casualty Insurance Company, U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania No. 3:21-CV-01314, 2021 WL 4502263 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 1, 2021) (Saporito, J.)

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