Legal theories alone are not enough to sustain litigation. A plaintiff must also plead factual allegations to support his legal theories. That’s where Mark Bond’s claims fall short. He asserts that Geico failed to pay him under his auto insurance policy and asserts breach of contract, bad faith, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. But he does not explain what Geico did or how it breached its contractual obligations. The Court will therefore dismiss Mr. Bond’s Complaint and give Mr. Bond another chance to plead a viable claim.
Eastern District Judge Wolson’s opening paragraph gets to the heart of why the insured’s UIM bad faith breach of contract claim failed. The carrier paid $50,000 as policy limits and the insured claimed policy limits were actually $1,000,000, but failed to set out any facts supporting that number. Judge Wolson made clear the court would not be parsing the policy to find if the insured had a case, and permitted leave to amend for the insured to adduce language in the policy supporting its position.
As to bad faith, we again quote Judge Wolson:
[The insured] appears to allege that the delay in [the insurer’s] payment and its final payment value constituted bad faith. According to the Complaint, [the insurer] first “tried to deny [the] claim,” then offered $10,000, and then paid [the insured] $50,000 via his prior counsel…. [The insured] has not alleged facts from which the Court can determine that [the insurer] acted without a reasonable basis in the timing or amount of payment. [The insured] has not explained when the accident occurred, when he filed a claim, what he provided [the insurer] at each stage of the process, and when [the insurer’s] subsequent offers were made. He also provides no facts about the underlying accident. His mere claim that [the insurer] offered less money and then more money is insufficient to state a claim for bad faith.
Judge Wolson makes clear that any amended complaint must be consistent with his opinion. Thus, as to bad faith, the insured must plead, if he can, specific facts concerning:
- timing of the accident and the claim;
- what information and documents were provided to the insurer and when; and
- the timing of the insurer’s offers.
Date of Decision: October 25, 2021
Bond v. Geico, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania No. 2:21-CV-02966-JDW, 2021 WL 4948571 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 25, 2021) (Wolson, J.)