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Sanford v. Allstate Indemnity Co.

January 27, 2006

CARLOS SANFORD, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLSTATE INDEMNITY COMPANY, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Edward W. Nottingham

ORDER AND MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

This is an insurance case. Plaintiff Carlos Sanford, allegedly on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, asserts the following claims against Defendant Allstate Indemnity Company: (1) declaratory relief and reformation of the insurance contract, (2) breach of the insurance contract, and (3) willful and wanton statutory bad faith. This matter is before the court on (1) Defendant's "Motion to Dismiss Complaint or, Alternatively, to Dismiss or Strike Class Claims," filed June 8, 2005; (2) "Plaintiff Sanford's Motion For Class Certification Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23," filed November 22, 2005; and (3) "Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion For Enlargement of Time to File Reply Re Motion For Class Certification," filed January 13, 2006.

FACTS

1. Factual Background

The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's complaint. On September 26, 1999, Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident. (Class Action Compl. and Jury Demand ¶ 21 [filed Apr. 21, 2005] [hereinafter "Compl."].) At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Austin Drake. (Id.) Clarice Drake insured the vehicle with Defendant under policy number 617534132 ("Drake policy"). (Id.) As a result of the accident, Plaintiff suffered personal injuries and personal injury protection ("PIP") compensable losses, including medical expenses and lost wages. (Id. ¶ 22.)

Following the accident, Defendant advised Plaintiff that "under [Colo. Rev. Stat.] § 10--4--706(4)(b) . . . the only PIP benefits available to him under the Drake policy were the basic PIP benefits contained in [Colo. Rev. Stat.] § 10--4--706." (Id. ¶ 30.) Defendant paid Plaintiff PIP benefits, including medical and rehabilitative expenses, as provided for in the "minimum coverages" contained in the Drake policy. (Id. ¶ 32.) Plaintiff asserts that as a result of the accident, he has incurred expenses and losses exceeding the minimum amount of benefits available to him under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 10--4--706. (Id. ¶ 31.)

2. Procedural History

On April 21, 2005, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this court. (Compl.) Plaintiff alleges three claims: (1) declaratory relief and reformation of the insurance contract; (2) breach of the insurance contract; and (3) willful and wanton statutory bad faith. (Id. ¶¶ 54--71.) On June 8, 2005, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint or in the alternative to strike Plaintiff's class claims. (Mot. to Dismiss Compl. or, Alternatively, to Dismiss or Strike Class Claims [filed June 8, 2005] [hereinafter "Def.'s Br."].) Defendant argues that this court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims because "they do not exceed the sum or value of $75,000." (Id. at 6.) Additionally, Defendant urges the court not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the putative class members' claims. (Id. at 7--8.) Finally, Defendant contends that "[t]he [c]court should dismiss or strike Plaintiff's class claims because Colorado courts have established that Plaintiff's extended PIP claims are inappropriate for class treatment." (Id. at 9--14.) On July 12, 2005, Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's motion to dismiss. (Pl. Sanford's Am. Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss Compl. or, Alternatively, to Dismiss or Strike Class Claims [filed July 12, 2005] [hereinafter "Pl.'s Resp."].) On July 27, 2005, Defendant filed a reply in support of its motion to dismiss. (Def.'s Reply in Supp. of Its Mot. to Dismiss Compl. or, Alternatively, to Dismiss or Strike Class Claims [filed July 27, 2005] [hereinafter Def.'s Reply"].) This matter is fully briefed.

On November 22, 2005, Plaintiff filed a motion for class certification. (Pl. Sanford's Mot. for Class Certification Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 [filed Nov. 22, 2005].) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's acts and omissions with respect to its statutory duties are "are identical as to each insured because they arise from defects in the written materials," and therefore are appropriate for class treatment. (Id. at 2.) On January 9, 2006, Defendant filed a response to Plaintiff's motion for class certification. (Def. Allstate's Resp. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Class Certification [filed Jan. 9, 2006].) On January 13, 2006, Plaintiff filed an unopposed motion for extension of time to file a reply in support of his motion for class certification. (Pl.'s Unopposed Mot. for Enlargement of Time to File Reply Re Mot. for Class Certification [filed Jan. 13, 2006].)

ANALYSIS

1. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides that a defendant may move the court to dismiss a claim for "lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) (2005). When a defendant challenges subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff must establish such jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. Southway v. Central Bank of Nigeria, 328 F.3d 1267, 1272 (10th Cir. 2003). "In reviewing a facial attack on the complaint, a district court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true." Holt v. United States, 46 F.3d 1000, 1002 (10th Cir. 1995). "A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) 'admits all well-pleaded facts in the complaint as distinguished from conclusory allegations.'" Smith v. Plati, 258 F.3d 1167, 1174 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting Mitchell v. King, 537 F.2d 385, 386 [10th Cir. 1976]).

Unlike a 12(b)(6) motion, a motion under 12(b)(1), "can include references to evidence extraneous to the complaint without converting it to a Rule 56 motion." Wheeler v. Hurdman, 825 F.2d 257, 259 n.5 (10th Cir. 1987). Indeed, the court has "wide discretion to allow affidavits, documents and even a limited ...


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