United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
April 12, 2004.
Westchester Fire Insurance
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PHILIP REINHARD, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Westchester Fire Insurance Co., individually and as
subrogee, filed a two-count complaint based on diversity jurisdiction,
naming as defendant, Carolina Casualty Insurance Co., and alleging an
equitable subrogation claim for bad faith failure to settle (Count I) and
a direct claim for bad faith failure to settle (Count II). Each count
also seeks punitive damages. Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), contending that both claims fail to
"plead any facts supportive of the notion it was unreasonable for
[defendant] to fail to settle" the underlying action. Defendant further
maintains that plaintiff "must allege facts sufficient to establish the
existence of the duty to settle in good faith." Defendant also argues
that plaintiff has failed to properly plead a claim for punitive damages.
While Illinois substantive law may apply to this case, federal pleading
rules, which require that a complaint only give notice of the plaintiff's
claim, and not that it spell out the facts underlying the claim, govern
in a diversity suit. Beanstalk Group. Inc. v. AM General Corp.,
283 F.3d 856, 863 (7th Cir. 2002). The plaintiff is not required to plead
facts or legal theories or case or statutes, but merely to describe his
claim briefly and simply. Shah v. Inter-Continental Hotel Chicago
Operating Corp., 314 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2002). It is not necessary to
plead sufficient facts to establish the legal elements of a claim. Head
v. Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees, 225 F.3d 794, 801 (7th Cir.
In this case, plaintiff has adequately notified defendant of the claims
against it, including those for punitive damages. From the nature of
defendant's motion to dismiss, it appears that defendant understands the
claims alleged. Accordingly, defendant's motion to dismiss is denied.
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