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Raymond v. GEICO Casualty Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

April 20, 2018

STEVEN RAYMOND, Plaintiff
v.
GEICO CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This insurance coverage dispute is before the Court on defendant GEICO Casualty Company's motion to dismiss (Doc. 16) and plaintiff Steven Raymond's motion to dismiss Count III (Doc. 20). GEICO argues that Mr. Raymond cannot pursue his claims for breach of his uninsured motorist policy because Mr. Raymond did not comply with the requirements of the policy. (Doc. 16, pp. 1-2). Mr. Raymond asks the Court to dismiss his claim for bad faith without prejudice. (Doc. 20, p. 1). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant GEICO's motion and deny Mr. Raymond's motion as moot.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Rule 12(b)(6) enables a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain, “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Generally, to survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss and meet the requirement of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a complaint need not contain ‘detailed factual allegations, ' but rather ‘only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Maledy v. City of Enterprise, 2012 WL 1028176, at *1 (M.D. Ala. Mar. 26, 2012) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         The Court must “accept[] the allegations in the complaint as true and constru[e] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Hill v. White, 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003) (internal marks omitted). The Court may consider as “part of the complaint for Rule 12(b)(6) purposes” exhibits that Mr. Raymond attached to his complaint. Miljkovic, 791 F.3d at 1297 n.4 (citing Grossman v. Nationsbank, N.A., 225 F.3d 1228, 1231 (11th Cir. 2000) (per curiam) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c)). The Court also may consider the GEICO policy that GEICO attached to its motion to dismiss because the policy is central to Mr. Raymond's claim, and the policy's contents are not in dispute. See Lockwood v. Beasley, 211 Fed.Appx. 873, 877 (11th Cir. 2006); Brooks v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., 116 F.3d 1364, 1369 (11th Cir. 1997) (“[W]here the plaintiff refers to certain documents in the complaint and those documents are central to the plaintiff's claim, then the Court may consider the documents part of the pleadings for purposes of Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, and the defendant's attaching such documents to the motion to dismiss will not require conversion of the motion into a motion for summary judgment.”).

         BACKGROUND

         In his second amended complaint, Mr. Raymond alleges that on August 7, 2014, he was standing in the bed of his truck attempting to move a piece of furniture when an unknown flatbed truck struck the bumper of his truck. (Doc. 15, ¶ 8). The collision caused Mr. Raymond to fall from the bed of his truck and suffer serious injury. (Doc. 15, ¶¶ 8, 11). A bystander at the scene of the accident contacted emergency responders who transported Mr. Raymond to the hospital. (Doc. 15, ¶ 10). “[N]o police report was made detailing the accident.” (Doc. 15, ¶ 9).

         From June 6, 2014, to September 23, 2014, GEICO insured Mr. Raymond through automobile insurance policy number 4331-77-92-33. (Doc. 16-1, p. 3; Doc. 15, ¶ 14; Doc. 15-1, p. 5). This policy included uninsured motorist coverage. (Doc. 15, ¶ 14; Doc. 16-1, p. 3).

         On January 4, 2015, Mr. Raymond learned from a television program that he might have a cause of action for damages against the driver of the unidentified flatbed truck and contacted counsel. (Doc. 15, ¶ 12). On February 24, 2015, Mr. Raymond, through counsel, notified GEICO of the accident. (Doc. 15, ¶¶ 13, 24). GEICO denied Mr. Raymond's claim. (Doc. 15, ¶¶ 15-24).

         This lawsuit followed. Mr. Raymond asserts claims against GEICO under his auto insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and breach of contract. (Doc. 15, pp. 7-10). Mr. Raymond also asserts a bad faith tort claim against GEICO. (Doc. 15, pp. 10-13). GEICO asks the Court to dismiss Mr. Raymond's claims with prejudice because Mr. Raymond did not report the August 2014 accident to police within twenty-four hours and did not report the accident to GEICO within thirty days as required by Mr. Raymond's insurance policy. (Doc. 16, pp. 1-2).

         Under the title “LOSSES WE PAY, ” Mr. Raymond's GEICO insurance policy provides, in relevant part:

Under the Uninsured Motorists Coverage [GEICO] will pay damages for bodily injury caused by accident which the insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured auto or hit-and-run auto arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of that auto.

(Doc. 16-1, p. 14) (emphasis in policy). The policy defines “Hit-and-run auto” this way:

“Hit-and-run auto” is a motor vehicle causing bodily injury to an insured through physical contact with him or with an auto he is occupying at the time of the accident and whose operator or owner cannot be ...

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