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213-15 76Th Street Condo Association v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 31, 2015

213-15 76TH STREET CONDO ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTTSDALE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

Thomas T. Booth, Jr., Esquire, Law Offices of Thomas T. Booth, Jr., LLC, Voorhees, New Jersey, Thomas G. Scopinich, Esquire, Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Counsel for Plaintiff.

Michael S. Saltzman, Esquire, Goldberg Segalla, LLP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Counsel for Defendant.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is the motion [Doc. No. 6] of Defendant, Scottsdale Insurance Company, seeking to dismiss the complaint to the extent that Plaintiff, 213-15 76th Street Condo Association, seeks an award of attorney's fees in this first-party insurance action. Plaintiff opposes the motion. The Court has considered the submissions of the parties and decides this matter pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78.

For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

This case arises out of damage to real property due to wind or wind-driven rain from Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. Plaintiff and the property were insured by Defendant under a policy of insurance. Plaintiff alleges that it notified Defendant of a claim under the insurance policy, which claim was initially denied. Defendant thereafter offered partial payment in the amount of $5, 488.40, but Plaintiff contends that this amount does not fully cover the losses sustained. Plaintiff thus initiated this action in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Cape May County, Law Division, alleging one count for breach of contract. Defendant then filed a notice of removal to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.

II. JURISDICTION

The Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1332, as the individuals who comprise the plaintiff association are citizens of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Defendant is an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Arizona, and the amount in controversy is alleged to exceed $75, 000.

III. STANDARD FOR DISMISSAL

In considering whether the complaint fails to state a claim, the Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005); see also Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008) ("[I]n deciding a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), [a district court is]... required to accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all inferences from the facts alleged in the light most favorable to" the plaintiff). A pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims[.]'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) ("Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for all civil actions[.]'") (citation omitted).

Under the Twombly/Iqbal standard, a district court first "must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937). Second, a district court "must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief.'" Fowler, 578 F.3d at 211 (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937). "[A] complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief." Fowler, 578 F.3d at 211; see also Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234 ("The Supreme Court's Twombly formulation of the pleading standard can be summed up thus: stating... a claim requires a complaint with enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest' the required element. This does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable ...


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