Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Eastern Federal District Court Dismisses Post-Koken Bad Faith Claims and Claims of Failure of Carrier to Procure Insurance

In the case of Reidi v. GEICO, No. 16-6139 (E.D. Pa. April 11, 2017 Stengel, J.), the Eastern District Federal Court addressed a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Defendant carrier in a post-Koken UIM matter involving claims for breach of contract, bad faith, and other claims.  

After a review of the record before it, the court granted the carrier’s Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s claims for bad faith after finding that the Complaint set forth only conclusory allegations regarding bad faith.   The court noted that the legal recitations contained in the Plaintiff’s Complaint were not factual and, therefore, not entitled to the assumption of truth.  

The court otherwise indicated that there were no facts pled showing how GEICO lacked a reasonable basis for its decision not to pay UIM benefits or otherwise detailing the actions that GEICO or the Plaintiff took in pursuit of the claim.   Nor were there any facts alleged that specifically described what was unfair about GEICO’s denial in refusing to pay the benefits.

Accordingly, the court found that the Plaintiff’s Complaint failed to state a plausible claim for bad faith. 

The court also granted GEICO’s Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim and negligence claim based upon GEICO’s failure to procure an insurance policy for them.

In this matter, the Plaintiff got into a car accident the same day the vehicle was purchased.  Plaintiffs alleged that they made a telephone call to GEICO the day before they purchased the vehicle to ensure that the car that they were about to purchase would be covered.   The court noted that the Plaintiffs conceded that they did not actual purchase the car until after they called GEICO. 

The court noted that Pennsylvania law recognizes claims for failure to procure insurance and limited circumstances which were not found to be implicated in this matter as the Plaintiffs failed to allege any affirmative representations to procure insurance made by GEICO.  

Rather, the records before the court indicated that the Plaintiff alleged that a GEICO representative told the Plaintiff their insurance “would be stored electronically and that the Plaintiffs should contact GEICO once they actually purchase a vehicle and obtain a VIN number.”   Under such circumstances, the court stated that it cannot be said that GEICO assumed any duty to provide coverage to the Plaintiffs.  

Anyone wishing to read this decision online can click HERE.

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