United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
SANDRA J. STATEN, Plaintiff,
FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on two motions to dismiss, one
filed by Defendant Federal Insurance Company on behalf of
Defendant Chubb Group Insurance and one filed by Defendant
Broadspire Services, Inc. (Docs. 10, 11). Chubb Group and
Broadspire seek to dismiss Plaintiff Sandra J. Staten's
amended pro se complaint against them pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
complaint, Ms. Staten alleges that Chubb Group, Broadspire,
and Federal Insurance acted together to issue an individual
accident insurance policy to Ms. Staten's now-deceased
husband. (Doc. 4). Ms. Staten alleges that she and her
husband paid all of the required premiums for the policy, but
the Defendants acted in bad faith and breached the insurance
contract by failing to pay a claim. Ms. Staten attached the
insurance policy to her complaint.
Insurance, acting on behalf of Chubb Group, and Broadspire
argue that the court should dismiss Chubb Group and
Broadspire from the case because Federal Insurance issued the
insurance policy and is the only party bound by the contract.
(Docs. 10, 11). The motion to dismiss filed on behalf of
Chubb Group asserts that Chubb Group is not a party to the
contract because “Chubb Group” is merely a
marketing name for a group of insurance companies that
includes Federal Insurance. (Doc. 10 at 3). The motion to
dismiss explains that Chubb Group is not a real corporate
entity subject to suit and repeats that Federal Insurance is
the only defendant that is actually a party to the insurance
contract. Broadspire makes similar arguments and states that
it is not a party to the contract because it merely acts as a
claims adjuster for Federal Insurance; it does not issue
policies. (Doc. 11 at 1-2).
court issued an order to show cause directing Ms. Staten to
show why the court should not dismiss Chubb Group and
Broadspire from the case. (Doc. 12). In her response, Ms.
Staten asserts that the motions to dismiss should be denied
because they were filed by Federal Insurance's attorneys.
(Doc. 15). She also argues that the insurance policy mentions
Chubb Group and Broadspire and that Chubb Group and
Broadspire are “intertwined or entangled into the
business cycles of Federal Insurance.” She does not
directly address the arguments that Chubb Group is not a real
entity and that Broadspire is merely a third-party claims
12(b)(6) motion attacks the complaint for failure to state a
claim for which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
The Supreme Court explained that “[t]o survive a 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.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To be plausible on its
face, the claim must contain enough facts that “allow
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
Alabama law, a defendant who is not party to an insurance
contract cannot be held liable for breach of the insurance
contract or bad faith. Manning v. Nationwide Mut. Fire
Ins. Co., No. 7:12-CV-4183-RDP, 2013 WL 1346984, at *3
(N.D. Ala. Mar. 28, 2013) (citing Ligon v. O.N. Hughes
Ins. Co., 551 So.2d 283, 285 (Ala. 1989)). In this case,
the insurance policy attached to Ms. Staten's complaint
clearly shows that the policy was issued only by Federal
Insurance. (Doc. 4 at 10, 12, 18, 24, 25). Therefore, Chubb
Group and Broadspire are not parties to the policy and are
not liable for any failure to pay by Federal Insurance.
See Manning, No. 7:12-CV-4183-RDP, 2013 WL 1346984,
from previous cases reinforce the conclusion that the court
cannot hold either Chubb Group or Broadspire liable in this
case because neither is a party to the insurance contract.
Other courts have held that Chubb Group is not a corporate
entity that can enter into a contract or face liability for
breach of contract. See, e.g. Pincus v. Chubb Grp. of
Ins. Companies, No. CIV.A. 08-1483, 2009 WL 839096, at
*1 n. 1 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 27, 2009) (stating that
“‘Chubb Group of Insurance Companies' is
merely a descriptive phrase that refers to several separate
companies under common ownership; it is not an entity or
insurance company itself”). Additionally, in another
case that involved both Federal Insurance and Broadspire,
another judge on this court found that Broadspire-as a mere
claims administrator-was not party to the insurance contract
at issue and, thus, did not face liability. Lawson v.
Fed. Ins. Co., No. 4:17-CV-01387-SGC, 2018 WL 6171430,
at *2-3 (N.D. Ala. Nov. 26, 2018). As both the relevant
insurance policy and caselaw show, Chubb Group and Broadspire
are not proper defendants in this case.
Ms. Staten has not stated a claim for which relief can be
granted against either Chubb Group or Broadspire.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Thus, the court GRANTS
Chubb Group and Broadspire's motions to dismiss and
DISMISSES them from this case.