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Rogers v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

July 28, 2017

ROGERS, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE VEHICLE AND PROPERTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          BARBARA M. G. LYNN CHIEF JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim (ECF No. 9). For the following reasons, the Motion is DENIED.

         I. Factual & Procedural Background

         This lawsuit stems from an Allstate homeowner's insurance policy issued to Lael and Scott Rogers (“the Rogers”).[1] The policy was effective from February 17, 2016, to February 17, 2017.

         On or around April 11, 2016, a wind and hail storm damaged the Rogers' property. Shortly thereafter, the Rogers submitted a claim for property damage resulting from the storm. On July 28, 2016, Allstate assigned claims adjuster Ethan Rosenfield to investigate the claim. The Rogers believed Mr. Rosenfield's damage estimate was a “severe under-adjustment” of their claim and requested a re-inspection. On August 29, 2016, Allstate assigned claims adjuster Chad Buchanan to conduct a second adjustment, but Mr. Buchanan identified no additional damage to the Rogers' property.

         On September 13, 2016, the Rogers hired a public adjuster to inspect the property. That adjuster estimated the damage to the property to be $51, 254.02. The Rogers sent the public adjuster's information to Allstate, and requested that it again re-inspect the property. The public adjuster provided the location, cause of loss, pictures of the property, specifications of the damage, and an estimate of the cost to repair the damage. The Rogers assert that Allstate confirmed receipt of that information on September 14, 2016. Allstate declined to conduct another inspection.

         On January 19, 2017, the Rogers commenced this action in the 68th District Court of Dallas County, Texas, asserting claims for breach of contract, Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Texas Insurance Code violations, and a breach of the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing. Allstate timely removed the action to this Court. Allstate then filed the pending motion to dismiss, arguing that (1) the Rogers did not have standing under Rule 12(b)(1) because they failed to provide a signed and sworn proof of loss ninety-one days before filing suit, and (2) that the Rogers failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6). The Court addresses each argument in turn.

         II. Applicable Legal Standard

         a. StandingandFederalRuleofCivilProcedure12(b)(1)

         Allstate first moves to dismiss for lack of standing, which is required for a federal district court to have subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). New Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v. Council of New Orleans, 833 F.2d 583, 586 (5th Cir. 1987). Article III standing requires 1) a concrete and particularized injury that is actual or imminent; 2) a causal connection between the injury and the alleged conduct; and 3) redressability. Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992).

         b. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

         Allstate also moves for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Rule 8(a)(2) requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The purpose of this requirement is to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Although detailed factual allegations are not required, the pleading must present more than “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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 alleged misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A pleading that offers only “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation” of the elements of a cause of action will not suffice. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). When considering a defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and views them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007).

         III. ...


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