United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
IBRAHIM SABBAH, and SABBAH BROTHERS ENTERPRISES, INC, doing business as 14th Street BP, Plaintiffs,
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY and NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiffs in this case, Ibrahim Sabbah
(“Sabbah”), and Sabbah Brothers Enterprises, Inc.
d/b/a 14th Street BP (“SBE”), sue Defendants,
Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company
(“NMFIC”) and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
(“NMIC”). On May 11, 2017, at the end of an
extensive Memorandum Opinion and Order (doc. 60) directed
towards the then-pending Motion To Dismiss (doc. 50), this
Court dismissed all claims against the Defendants except the
claims for: breach of contract by NMFIC (Count Twelve);
breach of contract by NMIC (Count Thirteen); declaratory
judgment against NMFIC (Count Fourteen); and declaratory
judgment against NMIC (Count Fifteen). These remaining counts
arise out of judgments obtained against Sabbah and SBE in
four underlying lawsuits and the instant Defendants'
refusal to indemnify SBE and Sabbah as to those judgments.
case is now before the Court on the Defendants' most
recent Motion To Dismiss, filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 76). For the
reasons stated herein, the motion will be
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that the
complaint provide “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). However, to survive a motion to dismiss
brought under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)
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 misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556)
(“Iqbal”). That is, the complaint must
include enough facts “to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555 (citation and footnote omitted). Pleadings that contain
nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8
standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely
upon “labels or conclusions” or “naked
assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations.
Id. at 555, 557 (citation omitted).
claim has been stated adequately, however, “it may be
supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the
allegations in the complaint.” Id. at 563
(citation omitted). Further, when ruling on a motion to
dismiss, a court must “take the factual allegations in
the complaint as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v.
McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing
Glover v. Liggett Group, Inc., 459 F.3d 1304, 1308
(11th Cir. 2006)).
underlying state court actions, judgments totaling $15, 150,
000.00 were entered against the instant Plaintiffs. The
Plaintiffs claim that the Defendants should have indemnified
them for their loss under the following two insurance
policies: a business owners liability insurance policy
(Policy No. 77-BO-762-940-3001) (hereinafter the “NMIC
Policy”) issued by NMIC to SBE; and a commercial
general liability insurance policy with liquor law liability
coverage (Policy No. 77 PR 762-940-3007) (hereinafter the
“NMFIC Policy”) issued by NMFIC to SBE. The NMIC
Policy listed SABBAH BROTHERS ENTERPRISES INC. as the named
insured and the NMFIC Policy listed SABBAH BROTHERS
ENTERPRISES INC., d/b/a 14TH STREET BP as the named
insured. The Defendants claim that the remaining
claims in this case are now moot because they have satisfied
the judgments in the underlying cases. (Doc. 76 at
As they put it:
This is because [the] Plaintiffs' remaining claims and
alleged damages are premised entirely on [the]
Defendants' failure to indemnify them against the
underlying judgments, judgments which have now been satisfied
and released. Plaintiffs therefore no longer have a
compensable loss and nothing remains for this Court to
76 at 3).
recently, the Eleventh Circuit has reiterated:
Mootness is a question of law[.] See Christian Coal. of
Fla., Inc. v. United States, 662 F.3d 1182, 1188 (11th
Article III of the Constitution limits federal court
jurisdiction to cases and controversies. See Id. at
1189. Accordingly, federal courts cannot offer advisory
opinions on moot questions or on abstract propositions.
See Id. And federal courts cannot declare principles
or rules of law outside those implicated by the matter
directly before them. Se ...