United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ANNE E. THOMPSON, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon the motion to dismiss filed by Excelsior Insurance Company and Peerless Insurance (collectively, "Defendants"). (Docket No. 5). Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Docket No. 7). The Court has decided the matter upon consideration of the parties' written submissions and without oral argument, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b). For the reasons given below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff owns and resides at premises located at 301 Johnson Avenue, Union Beach, New Jersey. (Docket No. 5). Plaintiff owns a policy of insurance with respect to the subject premises issued by Defendants. ( Id. ).
On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey causing damage to the Plaintiff's premises. ( Id. ). Plaintiff submitted a claim to Defendants. ( Id. ). Plaintiff alleges that he complied with all policy provisions and cooperated fully with the investigation of the claim. ( Id. ).
Plaintiff alleges the following: Defendants improperly adjusted Plaintiff's claim; Defendants misrepresented the cause, scope, and cost of repairs to Plaintiff's premises; Defendants underpaid Plaintiff's claim without any reasonable basis; Defendants conducted an inadequate, biased, and result-oriented investigation of Plaintiff's claim; and Defendants unreasonably delayed full payment of Plaintiff's claim. ( Id. ).
III. LEGAL STANDARD
A motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). The defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a district court should conduct a three-part analysis. See Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011). "First, the court must take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'" Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 56 U.S. 662, 675 (2009)). Second, the court must accept as true all of a plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). The court may disregard any conclusory legal allegations. Id. In addition, a court may consider matters of public record, documents specifically referenced in or attached to the complaint, and documents integral to the allegations raised in the complaint. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Finally, the court must determine whether the "facts are sufficient to show that plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief.'" Fowler, 578 F.3d at 211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Such a claim requires more than a mere allegation of an entitlement to relief or demonstration of the "mere possibility of misconduct;" the facts must allow a court reasonably to infer "that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 210, 211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. 678-79).
Defendants move to dismiss the second count of the Complaint, the fourth count of the Complaint, the claim for punitive damages, and the claim for attorneys' fees.
a. The Second Count of the Complaint
In the second count of the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Defendants argue that this claim "falls well below the requisite legal standard" for a claim of breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. ( Id. ).
Under New Jersey law, a duty of good faith and fair dealing is implicit in every contract of insurance. Clients' Sec. Fund of the Bar of New Jersey v. Security Title & Guaranty Co., 134 N.J. 358, 372 (1993). See also R.J. Gaydos Ins. Agency, Inc. v. National Consumer Ins. Co., 168 N.J. 255, 277 (2001); Sons of Thunder, Inc. v. Borden, Inc., 148 N.J. 396, 420 (1997). The party claiming a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing "must provide evidence sufficient to support a conclusion that the party alleged to have acted in bad faith has engaged in some conduct that denied the benefit of the bargain originally intended by the parties." ...