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Relaxed federal pleading requirements render dismissal of bad faith count “impossible” pre-discovery.

April 1, 2019
1009 Clinton Props., LLC v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 18-5286, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33668, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 4, 2019)

The plaintiff filed suit under a homeowner’s policy, alleging breach of contract and statutory bad faith under 42 Pa. C.S.A. 8371. The defendant moved to dismiss the bad faith count for demurrer and insufficient specificity. In denying the motion, the Eastern District rejected the “robotic reading” of precedential bad faith cases and relied on “common sense.” Judge Kenney reasoned that evidence of bad faith is almost always in the hands of the insurer. The court also emphasized the low bar for pleading specificity under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. It is prudent for bad faith defendants to weigh perceived benefits of removing to federal court (e.g. friendlier bench) against the drawback of these relaxed pleading requirements under the federal rules, which some judges believe make it “impossible” to dismiss the count pre-discovery.

 

Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2019

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