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Plaza v. Geico Direct

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 2, 2020

HERIBERTO PLAZA, JR., Plaintiff(s),
v.
GEICO DIRECT, et al., Defendant(s).

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Geico General Insurance Company's (“defendant”) motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, sever/bifurcate and stay plaintiff's claims for bad faith. (ECF Nos. 4; 5). Plaintiff Heriberto Plaza, Jr. (“plaintiff”) filed a response and countermotion for additional time pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) (ECF Nos. 6; 8), to which defendant replied (ECF No. 9).

         I. Background

         The instant action arises from a dispute regarding plaintiff's claim for underinsured motorists (“UIM”) benefits. (ECF No. 1-1). Plaintiff alleges that he was a fault-free passenger when he was rear-ended by Jeremy Maurello, an underinsured motorist. Id. Maurello “tendered the global policy limits of $10, 000, ” and plaintiff filed a UIM claim with defendant. Id. at 4. Plaintiff included “a comprehensive medical summary” of his injuries, which included roughly $38, 822.40 in medical bills. Id. Defendant offered plaintiff $8, 400, which plaintiff believes was unreasonable and “doesn't begin to compensate [p]laintiff for his medical specials.” Id. at 4-5.

         Plaintiff filed the instant action in state court, alleging breach of contract, violations of Nevada's Unfair Claims Practices Act (Nev. Rev. Stat. 686A.310), and bad faith. (ECF No. 1-1). Defendant timely removed the case. (ECF No. 1). Defendant now moves to dismiss plaintiff's extra-contractual claims for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, moves to stay those claims. (ECF No. 4).

         II. Legal Standard [1]

         A court may dismiss a plaintiff's 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. at 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.

         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 plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow the court to draw a reasonable inference that 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 it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679. 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 held,

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 unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.

Id.

         III. ...


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