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Robinson v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

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

February 11, 2019

MAGGIE J. ROBINSON and CODY ROBINSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Brown recluse spiders infested Plaintiffs Maggie J. Robinson and Cody Robinson's home in Gadsden, Alabama. Based on the spider infestation, the Robinsons filed a homeowner's insurance claim with Defendant Liberty Insurance Corporation. Liberty Insurance Corporation denied the claim, and the Robinsons filed this lawsuit, alleging breach of contract and bad faith claims against Liberty Insurance Corporation, Liberty Mutual Group, Inc., and Liberty Mutual (“Liberty”).

         Before the court is Liberty's motion to dismiss the Robinsons' complaint. (Doc. 6). As explained below, the Robinsons' loss is excluded under the relevant insurance policy. Therefore, the court GRANTS Liberty's motion to dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         At this stage, the court must accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Butler v. Sheriff of Palm Beach Cty., 685 F.3d 1261, 1265 (11th Cir. 2012). The court may also consider exhibits attached to the complaint. Hoefling v. City of Miami, 811 F.3d 1271, 1277 (11th Cir. 2016); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c) (“A copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is part of the pleading for all purposes.”). Plaintiffs attach to their complaint a copy of the relevant insurance policy, two letters, and an email. (Doc. 1-1 through Doc. 1-6). As a result, the court's description of the facts incorporates not only Plaintiffs' allegations but also the content of the exhibits attached to the complaint.

         The Robinsons purchased a home in Gadsden, Alabama in March 2008. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 13). After moving into the home, the Robinsons discovered that it was infested with “a large colony of highly venomous brown recluse spiders.” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 14). The Robinsons allege that “brown recluse spiders have been found in every area and room” of their home, “including inside their children's clothes, shoes, in their bathrooms and showers, under their beds, in the kitchen sink, and in light fixtures.” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 25). Between 2013 and 2015, a pest control company treated the home on three occasions in an effort to eradicate the spider infestation, but those efforts failed. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 16-20). According to the Robinsons, the spiders continue to “permeate” their home. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 21).

         In 2014, the Robinsons purchased a Liberty Mutual LibertyGuard Deluxe Homeowners Policy, effective May 1, 2014 through May 1, 2015 (the “Policy”). (Doc. 1 at ¶ 31; Doc. 1-1). The Policy provides, in relevant part:

SECTION I - PERILS INSURED AGAINST
COVERAGE A - DWELLING and COVERAGE B - OTHER STRUCTURES
We insure against risk of direct loss to property described in Coverages A and B only if that loss is a physical loss to property. We do not insure, however, for loss:
2. Caused by:
e. Any of the following:
(7) Birds, vermin, rodents, or ...

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