United States District Court, D. New Jersey
RICHARD J. GUSS ANDREW W. MILLER DIFRANCESCO BATEMAN COLEY
YOSPIN KUNZMAN DAVIS & LEHRER ON BEHALF OF PLAINTIFFS
CHRISTIAN ANDREW CAVALLO RONALD D. PUHALA DAVIS J. KIM
GOLDBERG SEGALLA, LLP ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT
CHRISTOPHER RYAN WEISS GOLDBERG SEGALLA, LLP ON BEHALF OF
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
a breach of contract action involving payment under a
homeowner's insurance policy following damage to
Plaintiffs Lorraine Giacobbe and Joanne Wakefield's
property after Superstorm Sandy. Before the Court is
Defendant QBE Specialty Insurance Company's Motion for
Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Court will
grant Defendant's Motion.
are the owners of property located at 25 Pilot Road in Toms
River, New Jersey. Defendant issued Plaintiffs a
homeowner's insurance policy, which provided coverage for
wind damage (“the Policy”). Following damage to
the property from Superstorm Sandy, Defendant's adjusting
company determined that the insured loss was $3, 893.98.
filed their Complaint with this Court on October 15, 2014.
Plaintiffs' Complaint brings four counts against
Defendant: breach of contract (Count I), breach of the
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count II),
bad faith (Count III), and violation of the New Jersey
Consumer Fraud Act (Count IV). By way of a Partial
Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice, filed with the Court
on October 23, 2017, Count II, Count III, and Count IV were
dismissed with prejudice, leaving only Count I - the breach
of contract claim.
Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. Plaintiffs are citizens of New Jersey. Defendant
is an Australian corporation with its principal place of
business in New York. Accordingly, there is diverse
citizenship between the parties. As it appears the parties
agree that at the time of the filing of the Complaint the
amount in controversy exceeded $75, 000, exclusive of
interest and costs, this Court has diversity
judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied that
“'the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits if any, ' . . . demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact” and that the moving
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56).
issue is “genuine” if it is supported by evidence
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the
nonmoving party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is
“material” if, under the governing substantive
law, a dispute about the fact might affect the outcome of the
suit. Id. “In considering a motion for summary
judgment, a district court may not make credibility
determinations or engage in any weighing of the evidence;
instead, the non-moving party's evidence ‘is to be
believed and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor.'” Marino v. Indus. Crating Co.,
358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255).
the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (“[A] party seeking
summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.”); see Singletary v. Pa. Dep't
of Corr., 266 F.3d 186, 192 n.2 (3d Cir. 2001)
(“Although the initial burden is on the summary
judgment movant to show the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact, ‘the burden on the moving party may be
discharged by “showing” - that is, pointing out
to the district court - that there is an absence of evidence
to support the nonmoving party's case' when the
nonmoving party bears the ultimate burden of proof.”
(citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325)).
the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving party
must identify, by affidavits or otherwise, specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. A “party opposing
summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of the . . . pleading[s].'”
Saldana v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir.
2001). For “the non-moving party to prevail, [that
party] must ‘make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of [every] element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial.'” Cooper v. Sniezek, 418
Fed.Appx. 56, 58 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322). Thus, to withstand a properly supported motion
for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must identify
specific facts and affirmative evidence that contradict those
offered by the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
state a claim for breach of contract under New Jersey law,
the plaintiff must allege facts demonstrating ‘(1) a
contract; (2) a breach of that contract; (3) damages flowing
therefrom; and (4) that the [plaintiff] performed [his] own
contractual duties.'” Faistl v. Energy Plus
Holdings, LLC, No. 12-2879, 2012 WL 3835815, at *7
(D.N.J. Sept. 4, 2012); accord Sheet ...