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Weaver v. State Farm Mutual Automible Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 27, 2018

TRUMAN H. WEAVER, and PATTY FUNK, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Defendant”) has moved to dismiss all six claims brought by Plaintiffs Truman H. Weaver and Patty Funk (“Plaintiffs”) on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated. The Court finds that Plaintiffs' claims are all based on the same legal theory-fraudulent nondisclosure-and Plaintiffs' allegations are insufficient to state any plausible claim for relief on this basis. Therefore, the Court will grant Defendant's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Statement of Facts

         The following are factual allegations from the operative Complaint, which are taken as true for analysis under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) pursuant to Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Plaintiffs are Colorado residents who, in December 2014, sought to purchase automobile liability insurance from Defendant for three vehicles: a 2012 Chevrolet Impala, a 1991 Chevrolet pickup truck, and a 1996 Suzuki motorcycle. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 10-11, ECF No. 1. Colorado law requires that an automobile liability insurance policy issued in the state provide uninsured motorist (“UM” or “UIM”) coverage for the protection of the insured for injuries incurred in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, unless the insured rejects that coverage in writing. Id. ¶ 7 (citing Colo. Rev. Stat. § 10-4-609(1)(a)). In conjunction with these policies, Defendant sent Plaintiffs two identical forms separately pertaining to the 1991 pickup truck and the 1996 motorcycle titled “Colorado Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage (Acknowledgment of Coverage Selection or Rejection)” (“UM Rejection Form”). Id. ¶ 11; see Id. Attach. 1, at 2; id. Attach. 2, at 2. The two forms had the following identical language in the second paragraph (the “Second Paragraph”):

Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage for bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death, selected on one policy insuring a motor vehicle owned and insured by you or any family member who resides in your household will apply to any accident for which the selected Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage is payable for that bodily injury, sickness, or disease, including death. The described vehicle on that one policy need not be involved in the accident for Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage to apply.[1]

Id. Attach. 1, at 2; id. Attach. 2, at 2. Plaintiffs allege Colorado law does not require an insurer to provide this, or any other, information regarding the rejection of UM insurance. Id. ¶¶ 25, 28. On these forms, Plaintiffs rejected the UM coverage for both vehicles. Id. ¶ 15; see Id. Attach. 1, at 2; id. Attach. 2, at 2. Defendant then issued Plaintiffs policies on the three vehicles. Id. ¶¶ 16-18. The policies provided for liability and UM insurance on the 2012 Impala and only liability insurance on the 1991 pickup truck and 1996 motorcycle. Id.

         These policies were in effect on February 17, 2016, when Mr. Weaver sustained serious injuries in a two-vehicle accident caused by the other driver's negligence. Id. ¶ 19. Mr. Weaver's medical expenses from this accident exceeded $300, 000. Id. ¶ 20. The other driver's liability insurance was insufficient to cover Mr. Weaver's medical expenses, so Defendant paid Mr. Weaver $100, 000, the maximum available under the policy in which he accepted UM coverage. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. Had Plaintiffs not rejected UM insurance on the other two policies, Mr. Weaver would have been able to “stack” that coverage, meaning that he would have been entitled to coverage on all three policies, resulting in an additional $125, 000 in coverage. Id. ¶¶ 9, 24.

         II. Procedural History

         Plaintiffs bring the present suit and assert six claims for relief alleging Defendant's disclosures in the UM Rejection Form fraudulently induced them to reject the UM coverage. Id. ¶¶ 48-80. The first five claims ask for equitable and declaratory relief and are founded on the alleged fraudulent nondisclosure. Id. ¶¶ 48-71. The sixth claim is brought by Mr. Weaver individually under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. Id. ¶¶ 72-80. However, Defendant argues, and Plaintiffs effectively concede, this claim also is founded in a fraudulent nondisclosure theory. See Resp. 18 (“Plaintiffs' Consumer Protection Act [c]laim pleads a plausible claim for relief. Plaintiffs plead that failure to disclose was misleading.”). Therefore, all of Plaintiffs claims necessarily rely on the same legal theory. The present motion asks the Court to dismiss all claims, because Plaintiffs have not stated a claim for fraudulent nondisclosure. Mot., ECF No. 21.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         “To 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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility, in the context of a motion to dismiss, means that the plaintiff pled facts which allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Twombly requires a two-prong analysis. First, a court must identify “the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ” that is, those allegations which are legal conclusions, bare assertions, or merely conclusory. Id. at 678-80. Second, the Court must consider the factual allegations “to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 681. If the allegations state a plausible claim for relief, such claim survives the motion to dismiss. Id. at 680.

         Plausibility refers “to the scope of the allegations in a complaint: if they are so general that they encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent, then the plaintiffs ‘have not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'” Khalik v. United Air Lines, 671 F.3d 1188, 1191 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008)). “The nature and specificity of the allegations required to state a plausible claim will vary based on context.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656 F.3d 1210, 1215 (10th Cir. 2011). Thus, while the Rule 12(b)(6) standard does not require that a plaintiff establish ...


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