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Durham v. Metropolitan Group Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 20, 2017

JASMINE DURHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
METROPOLITAN GROUP PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE CO., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. 17]

          Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jasmine Durham (“Plaintiff”) brings this three-count action against her automobile insurer Metropolitan Group Property and Casualty Insurance Co. (“Defendant”) for breach of contract; breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a, et seq claiming that Defendant improperly denied coverage under its automobile insurance policy number 843371969-0 for claims she made incident to a collision between her insured vehicle and an all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”). Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and all other costs and fees. Defendant moves to dismiss the case in its entirety for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The insurance policy was not filed as an attachment to the Complaint nor was it filed in support of the Motion to Dismiss.

         Background

         Plaintiff resides in Middletown, Connecticut. [Dkt. 1-1 (Compl.) ¶ 1]. Defendant is an insurance company with a principle place of business in Rhode Island and is registered with the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner to do business in Connecticut. Id. ¶ 2.

         In the early afternoon on October 12, 2014, Plaintiff operated her vehicle in Meriden, Connecticut, where she collided with an ATV operated by Damian Lein. Id. ¶¶ 3-4. Plaintiff sustained. Id. ¶¶3, 4 AND 8. Plaintiff alleges that such injuries were directly and proximately caused by Lein's negligence and/or carelessness. See Id. ¶¶ 6-8. She underwent invasive medical treatment and diagnostic examinations and may require future medical treatment including, but not limited to, surgery and physical therapy. Id. ¶¶ 9-10.

         At the time of the collision, Plaintiff owned the vehicle and insured it through Defendant's insurance policy. Id. ¶ 12. All premiums owed and due had been paid and the policy was in effect when the accident occurred. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. Plaintiff's insurance policy covers damages sustained as a result of an accident involving an owner or operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle. Id. ¶ 14. Lein either did not have insurance coverage or such coverage was inadequate to compensate Plaintiff for her damages. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff notified Defendant of her claims on or about October 29, 2014, and Defendant denied such claims on January 12, 2015. Id. ¶¶ 17-18.

         Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. 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 misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court should follow a “two-pronged approach” to evaluate the sufficiency of the complaint. Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161 (2d Cir. 2010). “A court ‘can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.'” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). “At the second step, a court should determine whether the ‘wellpleaded factual allegations, ' assumed to be true, ‘plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.'” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotations omitted).

         In general, the Court's review on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) “is limited to the facts as asserted within the four corners of the complaint, the documents attached to the complaint as exhibits, and any documents incorporated by reference.” McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 191 (2d Cir. 2007). The Court may also consider “matters of which judicial notice may be taken” and “documents either in plaintiffs' possession or of which plaintiffs had knowledge and relied on in bringing suit.” Brass v. Am. Film Techs., Inc., 987 F.2d 142, 150 (2d Cir. 1993); Patrowicz v. Transamerica HomeFirst, Inc., 359 F.Supp.2d 140, 144 (D. Conn. 2005). Although both parties possess, are knowledgeable about and rely on the insurance policy, as noted above, neither party filed the insurance policy.

         I. Discussion

         Defendant moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) all three counts of the Complaint: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and (3) the violation of CUTPA asserting that the claims are not sufficiently plead. The Court addresses each disputed count in turn.

         A. Breach of Contract

         An insurance policy “is to be interpreted by the same general rules that govern the construction of any written contract.” Zulick v. Patrons Mut. Ins. Co., 287 Conn. 367, 372-73 (2008). The elements for breach of contract are (1) formation of a contract, (2) performance by one party, (3) breach of the agreement by the other party, and (4) damages. Karas v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 33 F.Supp.3d 110, 114 (D. Conn. 2014); Meyers v. Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn and Kelly, P.C., 311 Conn. 282, 291 (2014); Am. Express Centurion Bank v. Head, 115 Conn.App. 10, 15-16 (Conn. App. Ct. 2009).

         Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to allege facts showing Defendant breached a duty owed under the agreement. See [Dkt. 17 (Mot. Dismiss) at 8]. Plaintiff has not provided any language from the insurance policy but instead generally references the policy. Defendant likewise has ...


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