United States District Court, D. Nevada
JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.
Presently before the court is defendant Mercury Casualty Co.'s motion to dismiss. (Doc. # 6). Plaintiffs Douglas and Shellie Stacey have filed a response (doc. # 9) to which defendant replied (doc. # 11).
Plaintiffs originally filed this action in state court, alleging the following claims: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty/bad faith; (3) breach of the covenant of good faith; (4) violation of the Unfair Claims Practices Act; and (5) negligent and/or intentional misrepresentation. (Doc. # 1-2). Defendant removed this action on May 22, 2014. (Doc. # 1-1).
The case arises out of an automobile accident that occurred on December 12, 2010, from which plaintiffs suffered injuries caused by a non-party tortfeasor, Srinivasa Senapathi. (Doc. # 1-2 at 6). Plaintiffs allege that prior to the accident, they had underinsured motorist ("UIM") coverage for $250, 000 per person under an automobile policy ("policy") issued by defendant. ( Id. ). Plaintiffs further allege, inter alia, that defendant undervalued their claims and withheld the full extent of their entitled policy benefits. ( Id. at 7).
In the instant motion, defendant seeks dismissal of plaintiffs' second, fourth, and fifth claims. (Doc. # 6). The court will address each in turn.
II. Legal Standard
A court may dismiss a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide "[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands "more than labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).
"Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (citation omitted).
In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, the court must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 678-79. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. at 678.
Second, the court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678.
Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has "alleged-but not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief." Id. (internal quotations omitted). When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
The Ninth Circuit addressed post- Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). The Starr court stated, "First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to ...