United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.
Thomas Calzone has sued State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
("State Farm") for: (i) breach of contract (count
1); (ii) breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing (count
2); and (iii) violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance
Practices Act ("CUIPA) (count 3). State Farm moves to
dismiss counts two and three of Plaintiff s complaint.
Plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion, despite
having had months to do so. For the reasons set forth below,
State Farm's motion is granted.
makes the following factual allegations, which I assume to be
Farm issued an insurance policy to Plaintiff on November 7,
2014 that provided coverage for Plaintiffs property. (ECF No.
1-1 at ¶ 1). The policy obligated State Farm "to
compensate the plaintiff for certain losses to the subject
property, including losses due to snow. . . ."
(Id. at 5). On March 2, 2015, while the policy was
in "full force and effect, the subject property
sustained significant losses due to ice damming following a
snow storm." (Id.) Despite its obligation to
compensate Plaintiff for the damage to his property, State
Farm "refused to pay the sum due to [Plaintiff] for the
loss sustained." (Id. at ¶ 7). State farm
failed to "adequately review, investigate and appraise
the loss related to the claim." (Mat 8). Plaintiff
"has suffered and continues to suffer, direct loss (sic)
and indirect losses as a result of [State Farm's]
actions." (Id. at H 10).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must determine whether
Plaintiff has alleged "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." BellAtl.
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). While the Court must "draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party, "
Vietnam Ass'n for Victims of Agent Orange v. Dow
Chem. Co., 517 F.3d 104, 115 (2d Cir. 2008), it must
grant the moving party's motion if "a complaint is
based solely on wholly conclusory allegations and provides no
factual support for such claims. . . ." Scott v.
Town of Monroe, 306 F.Supp.2d 191, 198 (D. Conn. 2004).
Plaintiff declined to file a response to State Farm's
motion to dismiss, I must determine whether Plaintiffs
"pleadings provide sufficient grounds to deny the
motion." Local Civ. R. 7(a)(1).
Breach of Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing (count
Farm moves to dismiss Count Two, which alleges a breach of
the duty of good faith and fair dealing. "Every contract
imposes upon each party a duty of good faith and fair dealing
in its performance and its enforcement." De La
Concha of Hartford, Inc. v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 269
Conn. 424, 432 (2004) (internal citations, quotation marks,
and alterations omitted). "To constitute a breach of
[the duty of good faith and fair dealing], the acts by which
a defendant allegedly impedes the plaintiffs right to receive
benefits that he or she reasonably expected to receive under
the contract must have been taken in bad faith."
Id., quoting Alexandra v. Strong, 81
Conn.App. 68, 80-81 (2004). The concept of bad faith includes
"both actual or constructive fraud, or a design to
mislead or deceive another, or a neglect or refusal to
fulfill some duty or some contractual obligation, not
prompted by an honest mistake as to one's rights or
duties, but by some interested or sinister motive."
Habetz v. Condon, 224 Conn. 231, 237 (1992), quoting
Black's Law dictionary (5th ed. 1979). In sum,
"[b]ad faith means more than mere negligence; it
involves a dishonest purpose." Id. An
insurer's "failure to conduct an adequate
investigation of a claim, when accompanied by other evidence,
reflecting an improper motive, properly may be considered as
evidence of bad faith." Karas v. Liberty Ins.
Corp., 33 F.Supp.3d 110, 116 (D. Conn. 2014).
"Allegations of a mere coverage dispute or negligence by
an insurer in conducting an investigation, " however, do
not state a claim for bad faith. Martin v. American
Equity Ins. Co., 185 F.Supp.2d 162');">185 F.Supp.2d 162 (D. Conn. 2002).
allegations do not plausibly assert that State Farm failed to
pay the insurance claim in full in bad faith. While Plaintiff
uses the watchwords of bad faith in his complaint, he does
not provide the requisite facts to "nudge [his] claim
across the line from conceivable to plausible." In
re Fosamax Products Liab. Litig., No. 09-cv-1412, 2010
WL 1654156, at*l (S.D.N.Y.Apr. 9, 2010). Plaintiff does not
set out which part of the policy State Farm ignored in
inadequately responding to his insurance claim nor its stated
reasons for doing so. Cf Liston-Smith v. CsaaFire &
Casualty Insurance Companya, No. 3:16-CV-00510 (JCH),
2016 WL 6246300, at *3 (D. Conn. Oct. 25, 2016) (granting
motion to dismiss claim for breach of duty of good faith and
fair dealing because plaintiff did "not explain what
policy provisions were used unreasonably, how they were
applied, or even allege a sinister motive other than a denial
of benefits"); Martin v. American Equity Ins.
Co., 185 F.Supp.2d 162');">185 F.Supp.2d 162, 165 (D. Conn. 2002) (granting
motion to dismiss claim for breach of duty of good faith and
fair dealing because plaintiff "never specified] how or
in what manner defendant's denial of coverage . . . was
unreasonable, outrageous, malicious and done in bad
faith") (internal quotation marks omitted). Without such
information, Plaintiffs claim amounts to a mere "naked,
conclusory allegation as to the legal status of
defendant's acts. . . ." Martin, 185
F.Supp.2d at 165. Plaintiffs count must therefore be
dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Violation of CUIPA (count 3)
Farm moves to dismiss Count Three, which alleges a violation
of CUIPA. CUIPA proscribes a number of "unfair methods
of competition and unfair and deceptive acts or practices in
the business of insurance." Conn. Gen. Stat. §
38a-316(6). These include "[u]nfair claim settlement
practices, " such as "refusing to pay claims
without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all
available information." Id. "To sustain a
claim of unfair settlement practices, 'it is essential
that the Complaint allege that the defendant engaged in more
than a single unfair act; it must have engaged in the
proscribed act often enough that it constitutes a general