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Dubin v. Nationwide Mutual Insurace Co.

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Wheeling

April 9, 2019

SHAWN DURBIN, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY and JOHN DOES, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          JOHN PRESTON BAILEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently pending before this Court is Defendant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 4], which was filed on January 7, 2019. The Motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for decision. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be GRANTED.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the Circuit Court of Brooke County, West Virginia on November 30, 2018 [Doc. 1-4]. Defendant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (“Nationwide”) subsequently removed this matter to this Court on December 20, 2018, on the basis of diversity jurisdiction [Doc. 1].

         The Complaint alleges the following causes of action against Nationwide: Common Law Claim Misconduct (Count IV); Unfair Trade Practices Act (Count V); Breach of Contract (Count IV (sic)); and Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing (Count V). [Doc. 1-2 at ¶¶ 57-61, 62-76, 77-79, 80-82]. Plaintiff also asserts a claim for Punitive Damages in Count VI.[1]

         The Complaint stems from an underlying motor vehicle accident which occurred on September 12, 2013, with a John Doe who fled the scene of the accident [Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 11]. Defendant Nationwide had previously issued an insurance policy to plaintiff that provided uninsured motorist coverage benefits in the amount of $100, 000 per person and $300, 000 per occurrence (Id. at ¶ 22). After the accident, plaintiff filed an uninsured motorist claim with Nationwide (Id. at ¶ 39). Plaintiff asserts his first-party claim for uninsured motorists bodily injury benefits did not settle in a timely manner (Id. at ¶ 43). The parties eventually settled the underlying action on November 30, 2017, for $70, 000 (Id.). Plaintiff asserts he was legally entitled to compensation up to the per person coverage limit for uninsured motorist bodily injury under the Nationwide Policy (Id. at ¶ 32). As part of the consideration, the plaintiff executed a Release in Full on December 17, 2017. The Release [Doc. 4-1] terms provide:

         NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration for the resolution of the matters set forth in the recitals to this release, plaintiff hereby executes the following agreement:

         [. . .]

         2. The Release

         Plaintiff shall and, by the execution of this document does, release and discharge Defendant insurance carrier, from any past, present, or future known or unknown suspected or unsuspected, claims, obligations, rights, damages, costs and liens whether based in tort, contract, equity, or any other principles of law or equity and whether for the recovery or reimbursement of compensatory, general, special, or any other kind of damages that Plaintiff has had, presently has, or may have arising out of or relating in any manner to (i) the Civil Action; (ii) the subject matters that were set forth, or could have been set forth, in the complaint commencing the Civil Action or in any other pleading that was or could have been filed in the Civil Action; (iii) the Claims; (iv) the Accident; and (v) any of the matters set forth in the recitals to this release (collectively the “Released Matters”), noting however, the specific exclusion and reservation set forth above preserving extra contractual claims, including but not limited to violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act, Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act, Substantially Prevail Claims, First Party Bad Faith Claims or other derivative claims which Shaw (sic) Durbin, may or may not be entitled to as a matter of law.

         II. Legal Standard

         A complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege “‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007) (emphasis added).” Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008). When reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court must assume all of the allegations to be true, must resolve all doubts and inferences in favor of the plaintiffs, and must view the allegations in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs. Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir. 1999).

         When rendering its decision, the Court should consider only the allegations contained in the Complaint, the exhibits to the Complaint, matters of public record, and other similar materials that are subject to judicial notice. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. Schmoke, 63 F.3d 1305, 1312 (4th Cir. 1995). In Twombly, the Supreme Court, noting that “a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do, ” Id. at 1964-65, upheld the dismissal of a complaint where the plaintiffs did not “nudge[ ] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Id. at 1974.

         This Court is well aware that “[M]atters outside of the pleadings are generally not considered in ruling on a Rule 12 Motion.” Williams v. Branker, 462 Fed.Appx. 348, 352 (4th Cir. 2012). “Ordinarily, a court may not consider any documents that are outside of the Complaint, or not expressly incorporated therein, unless the motion is converted into one for summary judgment.” Witthohn v. Fed. Ins. Co., 164 Fed.Appx. 395, 396 (4th Cir. 2006). However, the Court may rely on ...


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