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Kollar v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 28, 2018

RAYMOND KOLLAR, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO. and ALLSTATE FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC, Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Raymond Kollar (“Plaintiff”) brings this suit against Allstate Insurance Company and Allstate Financial Services, LLC (collectively “Defendants”), with whom he was affiliated as a licensed insurance agent. He raises five claims in his Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”). Am. Compl., ECF No. 46. Specifically, he asserts that both Defendants are liable for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-110a, et seq., tortious interference with Mr. Kollar's business expectancy, and violation of the Connecticut Franchise Act (“Connecticut Franchise Act”). Conn. Gen. Stat. § 42-133e, et seq. Defendants move to dismiss all counts.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court now GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss as to Counts I-IV, and DENIES Defendants' motion to dismiss as to Count V. Counts I-IV are dismissed WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         The Court assumes that the parties have familiarity with the original allegations in this lawsuit and therefore only addresses any new and relevant allegations in Mr. Kollar's Amended Complaint below.

         B. Procedural History

         The Court has presided over this case since 2016.

         On July 13, 2016, Mr. Kollar filed a Complaint in the Superior Court of Connecticut. Compl., ECF No. 1. On November 22, 2016, Defendants removed the case to this Court. Id. On January 5, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. ECF No. 20. On January 20, 2017, the Court held a status conference and motion hearing. ECF No. 25.

         On July 28, 2017, the Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss without prejudice and granted Mr. Kollar leave to file an Amended Complaint addressing the legal deficiencies identified by the Court thirty days from Court's Order. Order granting motion to dismiss without prejudice. ECF No. 39; Kollar v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 3:16-CV-01927 (VAB), 2017 WL 3222535 (D. Conn. July 28, 2017).

         Mr. Kollar filed an Amended Complaint on September 1, 2017. Am. Compl. Mr. Kollar's Amended Complaint alleges myriad new facts. Am. Compl. Though the Court has reviewed the Amended Complaint in its entirety, the Court considers those facts that could change the outcome of the defendants' motion to dismiss. See Muhammad v. Bonner, No. 05CV1851(RJD)(LB), 2008 WL 926574, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2008) (Denying Plaintiffs' motions for further discovery and a proposed amended complaint because the facts therein would not change the outcome of defendants' motion for summary judgment.).

         Regarding Defendants' policies on production requirements, Mr. Kollar alleges that a 2014 memorandum “expressly stated that insurance applications written on a spouse would count towards 2014 production requirements.” Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Mr. Kollar also cites the Executive Agency Independent Contractor Manual (“EAIC Manual”), stating: ‘The Company will evaluate your agency's results . . . On a moving 12-month period, a formal consultation will be offered to you if you do not achieve ABO results . . .'” Id. at ¶ 14b.

         Regarding the pulling of Mrs. Kollar's life insurance policy, Mr. Kollar contends that Bill Christie “sent Mr. Kollar an email stating: ‘According to the underwriter, they [Allstate Financial Services] pulled the case due to persistency problems. Persistency is an industry term referring to controlled business.” Id. at ¶ 21h. Mr. Kollar further alleges that he informed Defendants about the pulling of the policy. Id. ¶ 21l.

         Regarding the location of another Allstate agency in close proximity to Mr. Kollar's agency, Mr. Kollar contends that the EAIC Manual discourages the merging of satellite locations. Id. at ¶ 14c-d. Further, Defendants' Reference Guide on requirements for Sales Locations states: “once you become an R3001 Agent or purchase an R3011 Agency, you will continue to operate from the same office in which your agency is currently doing business.” Id. at ¶ 14c.

         Mr. Kollar contends that “the Territorial Sales Leader permitted the relocation because of a personal relationship with the Field Sales Leader and the relocation of the competing agency would benefit the Field Sales Leader.” Id. at ¶ 19b. According to Mr. Kollar, the Territorial Sales Leader ignored Mr. Kollar's pictures and proof of his sign and street exposure, which would have made the relocation impermissible. Id. at ¶ 19c. Relatedly, Mr. Kollar claims that Alton Davis of Allstate's New England Region said that the relocation of a competing agency in close proximity to Mr. Kollar's was “against pattern” Id. at ¶ 19g.

         Regarding the sale of the agency, Mr. Kollar alleges that he “presented Allstate Insurance Co. with multiple, qualified, previously-approved Allstate agents who sought to purchase the agency.” Id. at ¶ 24a. After rejecting those agents, Defendants purportedly “refused to afford Mr. Kollar additional time to sell the agency.” Id. at ¶ 24d. Then, an Allstate employee named Robert Dunn bought the agency “at a greatly discounted price, ” Id. at ¶ 24e, allegedly depriving Mr. Kollar of $250, 000, Id. at ¶ 34d, and violating EAIC Manual guidance that “. . . Allstate is never the buyer or seller.” Id. at ¶ 30d.

         With regard to black-listing, Mr. Kollar now claims that he “has been unable to obtain employment or an independent contractor relationship with at least nine different insurance agencies.” Id. at ¶ 26.

         Generally, Mr. Kollar now contends that he “relied upon . . . the Exclusive Agency Agreement, Supplement, Agency Standards, and other written memoranda in purchasing his economic interest in the agency and operating his agency.” Id. at ¶ 15.

         Defendants now have pending a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint. Mot. to Dismiss Am. Compl., ECF No. 51.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). A court will dismiss any claim that fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), a court applies a “plausibility standard” guided by “two working principles.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         First, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.; see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.”) (internal citations omitted). Second, “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Thus, the complaint must contain ...


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