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LV Diagnostics, LLC v. Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 31, 2018

LV DIAGNOSTICS, LLC, Plaintiff(s),
v.
THE HARTFORD FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP, INC., et al., Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.'s (“Hartford”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff has not filed a response, and the time for doing so has since passed.

         Also before the court is defendant Hartford and defendant Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd.'s (“Sentinel”) joint motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff LV Diagnostics, LLC filed a response (ECF No. 10), to which defendants replied (ECF No. 12).

         I. Facts

         Plaintiff and defendant Sentinel entered into an insurance contract covering the building and business personal property located at 600 South Martin Luther King Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada. (ECF No. 1). The coverage dates for the policy ran from December 1, 2014 to December 1, 2015. Id. On April 8, 2015, someone broke into plaintiff's business and stole a large amount of plaintiff's medical and business equipment. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the equipment was covered by the policy. Id.

         On April 13, 2015, plaintiff submitted a claim to defendants regarding the lost property. Id.. On June 15, 2015, defendants wrote to plaintiff, stating that in attempts to complete their investigation and adjustment of loss defendants needed additional documentation to support plaintiff's claim. Id. Plaintiff sent defendants the requested documentation. Id. On July 6, 2015, defendants again wrote plaintiff to state that the provided documentation was insufficient. Id. The letter requested additional records. Id.

         Plaintiff states that on at least two occasions thereafter it provided defendants with supporting documentation. Id. “Each time the documentation was deemed insufficient by Defendants and the claim denied.” Id.

         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 quotation marks 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, in relevant part:

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 relief, such that it is not ...

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