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Emiabata v. Farmers Ins. Corp. Ins. Co.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 7, 2019

SYLVIA EMIABATA, Plaintiff,
v.
FARMERS INS. CORP. INS. CO. and FARMERS TEXAS CTY. MUT. INS. CO. Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 23, 2016, Sylvia Emiabata (“Plaintiff”) allegedly became involved in a car accident in Dickson, Tennessee. Compl. ECF No. 1, at 3. That accident allegedly resulted in a claim with Farmers Insurance Corporation Insurance Company or Farmers Texas County Mutual Insurance Company (“Defendants”). Compl. at 1, 4.

         On November 8, 2018, Ms. Emiabata filed this action, alleging state law claims of bad-faith dealing, negligence, breach of contract, vicarious liability, and unjust enrichment. Compl. at 4-6. Ms. Emiabata claims that she is a resident of Connecticut, that Defendants are citizens of California and Texas, and that this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Compl. at 1-2.

         On January 30, 2019, Defendants moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, insufficient process, lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and improper venue. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 12.

         On April 15, 2019, Ms. Emiabata moved to amend her Complaint. ECF No. 27.

         For the reasons below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED, ECF No. 12, and Plaintiff's motion to amend is DENIED, ECF No. 27.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         On or about February 23, 2016, while traveling on Interstate Highway 40 in Dickson, Tennessee, another driver allegedly almost hit Ms. Emiabata. Compl. at 3. She allegedly lost control of her vehicle and drove into a ditch. Id. Ms. Emiabata allegedly had to go the hospital, and, once there, gave a statement to the police. Id. She also allegedly reported the incident to her insurer, Farmers Insurance. Compl. at 3; see also Farmers Ins., “Auto Ins. Renewal Offer” (Feb. 19-Aug. 19, 2016 Policy Period) (“Ins. Policy”), Def. Ex. A, ECF No. 12 at 22. Ms. Emiabata alleges that Farmers Insurance “failed to properly investigate the accident . . . undu[ly] delay[ed], refused to defend and refused to make a reasonable settlement offer.” Compl. at 3-4.

         B. Procedural History

         On November 8, 2018, Ms. Emiabata filed her Complaint against Farmers Insurance Corporation Insurance Company and Farmers Texas Country Mutual Insurance Company. Compl, ECF No. 1.

         On January 30, 2019, Defendants moved to dismiss the case under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), 12(b)(3), 12(b)(5), 12(b)(6), and 28 U.S.C. § 1406. Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 12; Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), (b)(5), (b)(6); 28 U.S.C. § 1406; see also Suppl. to Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 14. In support of its motion, Defendant filed the relevant insurance policy and numerous documents related to the state citizenship of Ms. Emiabata and Defendants, including filings from an allegedly similar action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in early 2018, ECF No. 12 at 58-146.

         On April 15, 2019, Ms. Emiabata opposed Defendants' motion to dismiss. Pl. Mem. in Opp. to Defs. Mot. to Dismiss (“Pl. Opp.”), ECF No. 26. Ms. Emiabata also moved to amend her Complaint. Pl. Mot. to Amend Compl., ECF No. 27; Fed.R.Civ.P. 15.

         On April 29, 2019, Defendants responded to Ms. Emiabata's objection, Defs.' Reply to Pl.'s Obj. to Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 28, and objected to Ms. Emiabata's motion to amend the Complaint, Defs.' Obj. to Pl.'s Mot. to Amend Compl., ECF No. 29.

         On July 23, 2019, the Court convened a hearing on the pending motions. Min. Entry., ECF No. 34.

         Following the hearing, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to submit additional evidence regarding her residency in the State of Connecticut. Order, ECF No. 35. On August 5, 2019, Plaintiff submitted additional evidence regarding her residency. Pl. Mot. in Resp. to Submit Additional Ev. Pursuant to the Court Grants Pl. Leave, ECF No. 36.

         II. 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). Any claim that fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” will be dismissed. 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 “factual amplification . . . to render a claim plausible.” Arista Records LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 120 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Turkmen v. Ashcroft, 589 F.3d 542, 546 (2d Cir. 2009)).

         Pro se complaints are “construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); Teichmann v. New York, 769 F.3d 821, 825 (2d Cir. 2014) (“Although we liberally construe Teichmann's pro se amended complaint, we still require that he plead facts sufficient to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”) (citing Triestman, 470 F.3d at 474, and quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678) (internal quotation marks omitted); Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015) (“Because Fowlkes appeared pro se before the District Court, he is ‘entitled to special solicitude'. . . . At the same time, a pro se complaint must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”) (quoting Triestman, 470 F.3d at 477; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         When reviewing a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court takes all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The court also views the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and draws all inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Cohen v. S.A.C. Trading Corp., 711 F.3d 353, 359 (2d Cir. 2013); see also York v. Ass'n of the Bar of the City of New York, 286 F.3d 122, 125 (2d Cir.) (“On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, we construe the ...


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