United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Court
before the Court is Defendant American National Property and
Casualty Company's (“Defendant”) Motion to
Dismiss, (ECF No. 6), or in the alternative, Motion for a
More Definite Statement or to Sever/Bifurcate and to Stay
Claims for Bad Faith, (ECF No. 7). Plaintiff Manish Patel
(“Plaintiff”) filed a single Response, (ECF No.
9), and Defendant filed a single Reply, (ECF No. 10). For the
reasons discussed below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss,
(ECF No. 6), is GRANTED. Further,
Defendant's Motion for a More Definite Statement or to
Sever/Bifurcate and to Stay Claims for Bad Faith, (ECF No.
7), is DENIED as moot.
case arises from Plaintiff's homeowner's insurance
claim against Defendant insurer. (See Compl., ECF
No. 1-1). Plaintiff alleges that in January 2017, he
contracted for and paid for a homeowner's insurance
policy with Defendant. (Id. ¶ 7). Plaintiff
further alleges that on or about March 3, 2017, the
“septic tank backed up” and flooded
Plaintiff's home. (Id. ¶ 8). Three days
later, Plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Defendant.
(Id. ¶ 9). Plaintiff alleges that he
“reported all the loss and damaged items to [Defendant]
and provided [it] with accurate costs of replacement.”
(Id. ¶ 11). Plaintiff further alleges that
Defendant “denied compensation for the property that
was damaged . . . and failed to pay for any loss of use,
despite due and proper demand.” (Id. ¶
March 1, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in Clark County
District Court alleging the following claims: (1) breach of
contract; (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith
and fair dealing; (3) violations of Nevada's Unfair
Claims Practices Act; (4) intentional refusal to pay
insurance benefits; and (5) declaratory relief. Defendant
subsequently removed the action to federal court. Now,
Defendant moves to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for a more
definite statement or to sever and stay claims for bad faith,
(ECF Nos. 6, 7).
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandates
that a court dismiss a cause of action that fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. See North Star
Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 581
(9th Cir. 1983). When considering a motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, dismissal is
appropriate only when the complaint does not give the
defendant fair notice of a legally cognizable claim and the
grounds on which it rests. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In considering
whether the complaint is sufficient to state a claim, the
Court will take all material allegations as true and construe
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See NL
Indus., Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir.
Court, however, is not required to accept as true allegations
that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact,
or unreasonable inferences. See Sprewell v. Golden State
Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). A formulaic
recitation of a cause of action with conclusory allegations
is not sufficient; a plaintiff must plead facts showing that
a violation is plausible, not just possible.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) (emphasis added). In order
to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Id. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
a district court may not consider any material beyond the
pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion . . . .
However, material which is properly submitted as part of the
complaint may be considered on a motion to dismiss.”
Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co.,
896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990) (citations omitted).
Similarly, “documents whose contents are alleged in a
complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but
which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be
considered in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss” without converting the motion to dismiss into
a motion for summary judgment. Branch v. Tunnell, 14
F.3d 449, 454 (9th Cir. 1994). Under Federal Rule of Evidence
201, a court may take judicial notice of “matters of
public record.” Mack v. S. Bay Beer Distrib.,
798 F.2d 1279, 1282 (9th Cir. 1986). Otherwise, if the
district court considers materials outside of the pleadings,
the motion to dismiss is converted into a motion for summary
judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d); Arpin v.
Santa Clara Valley Transp. Agency, 261 F.3d 912, 925
(9th Cir. 2001). /// If the court grants a motion to dismiss,
it must then decide whether to grant leave to amend. Pursuant
to Rule 15(a), the court should “freely” give
leave to amend “when justice so requires, ” and
in the absence of a reason such as “undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of
allowance of the amendment, futility of the amendment,
etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
(1962). Generally, leave to amend is only denied when it is
clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot be cured
by amendment. See DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys.,
Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992).
instant Motion, Defendant argues that each of Plaintiff's
causes of action should be dismissed for failure to state a
claim. (See Mot. to Dismiss (“MTD”)
3:9-10, ECF No. 6). Specifically, Defendant argues that
Plaintiff's “allegations, as a matter of law, do
not rise to the level necessary to demonstrate unreasonable
conduct by [Defendant].” (Id. 3:3-4). The
Court addresses the sufficiency of each cause of action in
Breach of Contract
insurance policy is a contract.” Senteney v. Fire
Ins. Exch., 707 P.2d 1149, 1150 (Nev. 1988). In Nevada,
to succeed on a claim for breach of contract a plaintiff must
show: (1) the existence of a valid contract; (2) that the
plaintiff performed or was excused from performance; (3) that
the defendant breached the terms of the contract; and (4)
that the plaintiff was damaged as a result of the breach.
See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 203
(2007); see also Bernard v. Rockhill Dev. Co., 734
P.2d 1238, 1240 (Nev. 1987); Brochu v. Foote Enterprises,
Inc., No. 55963, 2012 WL 5991571 at *5 (Nev. 2012)
(“To prove a breach of contract, the plaintiff must
show an existing valid agreement with the defendant, the
defendant's material breach, and damages.”).
support this claim, Plaintiff broadly alleges that he and
Defendant “entered into a valid contract in which
[Plaintiff] would make regular payments and [Defendant] would
provide him with home owners' Insurance for the items
contained in side [sic] the subject residence.” (Compl.
¶ 15). Plaintiff further alleges that he twice
“made demand to [Defendant] for the items which were
reported damaged or destroyed.” (Id. ¶
16). Plaintiff then asserts that “Defendant breached
the contract by failing to pay ...