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Yourglass v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 29, 2015



DAVID R. HERNDON, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Now before the Court is defendant Progressive Northern Insurance Company's motion to dismiss plaintiff's first amended complaint (Doc. 23) pursuant to FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 8(a)(2) and 12(b)(6). Plaintiff opposes the motion on grounds that she satisfied the pleading requirements of Rules 8(a) and 12(b)(6) (Doc. 32). For the reasons explained below, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part defendant's motion to dismiss (Doc 23).

II. Background

This case arises out of plaintiff's denied claim on her insurance policy by defendant after her motor vehicle was allegedly stolen, set on fire, and destroyed in May 2012. Plaintiff attempted to recuperate the loss of her vehicle by filing a claim on her auto insurance policy with Progressive Northern Insurance Company (hereinafter "defendant"), which defendant denied. Following the denial, plaintiff filed an action arising from the same operative facts as the instant case on December 3, 2013, in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois (2-2). On February 18, 2014, defendants removed this case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois asserting this Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1332 (Doc. 2).

Upon removal, defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 6). The Court granted the motion, and upon the court's order to amend the complaint, plaintiff filed her first amended complaint on July 7, 2014 (Doc. 23). In Count I of the amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant negligently misrepresented to plaintiff that her vehicle would be covered by the subject policy; in Count II, plaintiff brings a breach of contract claim against defendant for failing to timely investigate and pay her claim; in Count III, plaintiff claims that defendant's refusal to pay her claim is "vexatious and unreasonable" in violation of Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code. Defendant instantly seeks dismissal of all three counts contained in plaintiff's first amended complaint alleging that plaintiffs' claims do not meet federal pleading standards.

Naturally, plaintiff disagrees with defendant's assertions and alternatively moves to amend her complaint, should the Court determine that plaintiff has not pled her claims with sufficient particularity. The Court will address each count of the complaint individually.

III. Motion to Dismiss

Rule 8(a) requires that a complaint provide, "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court explained in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), that Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is warranted if the complaint fails to set forth "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."

Although federal pleading standards were retooled by Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), notice pleading remains all that is required in a complaint. "A plaintiff still must provide only enough detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and, through his allegations, show that it is plausible, rather than merely speculative, that he is entitled to relief.'" Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted).

The Seventh Circuit offers further guidance on what a complaint must do to withstand 12(b)(6) dismissal. The Court in Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 699 (7th Cir. 2008), reiterated the standard: "surviving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion requires more than labels and conclusions;" the complaint's allegations must "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." A plaintiff's claim "must be plausible on its face, " that is, "the complaint must establish a non-negligible probability that the claim is valid." Smith v. Medical Benefit Administrators Group, Inc., 639 F.3d 277, 281 (7th Cir.2011). With this in mind, the Court turns to plaintiff's three-count complaint.

IV. Application

a. Count I: Negligent Misrepresentation

Under Illinois law, a claim of negligent misrepresentation must allege: (1) a false statement of material fact; (2) carelessness or negligence in ascertaining the truth of the statement by the party making it; (3) an intention to induce the other party to act; (4) action by the other party in reliance on the truth of the statement; (5) damage to the other party resulting from such reliance; and (6) a duty on the party making the statement to communicate accurate ...

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