United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
JACOB D. FRANTZ, JAN M. MAURICIO, and JOHN MAURICIO, Plaintiffs,
CENTURY-NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant
Century-National Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss
the Complaint (Doc. # 6), filed on April 29, 2019. Plaintiffs
Jacob D. Frantz, Jan M. Mauricio, and John Mauricio responded
on May 13, 2019. (Doc. # 16). For the reasons that follow,
the Motion is granted.
February 3, 2015, Frantz, a Florida citizen, was involved in
a motor vehicle accident in Hanover Township, Lehigh County,
Pennsylvania. (Doc. # 1-1 at 2). While negligently operating
his 1999 Land Rover, Frantz rear-ended a motor vehicle
operated by John Mauricio, in which Jan Mauricio was a
passenger. (Id.). The accident resulted in serious
bodily injuries to Jan (Id.), and loss of consortium
damages to John. (Doc. # 1 at 53).
was insured by Century-National at the time of the accident.
(Doc. # 1-1 at 2). Plaintiffs allege that the policy provides
bodily injury liability coverage in this situation.
(Id.). The policy states when “[a] compulsory
insurance or similar law require[s] a nonresident to maintain
insurance whenever the nonresident uses a vehicle in that
state or province, [the] policy will provide at least the
required minimum amounts and types of coverage.” (Doc.
# 1 at 25).
for damages were made by the Mauricios against Frantz, and
the claims were adjusted in Florida by Pro General Insurance
Solutions, Inc. on behalf of Century-National. (Doc. # 1-1 at
2). On February 1, 2017, after Century-National failed to
resolve the Mauricios' claims, the Mauricios filed a
lawsuit against Frantz in the court of Common Pleas in Lehigh
County, Pennsylvania, alleging damages as a result of the
February 3, 2015, accident. (Id. at 2-3). On March
27, 2017, the Mauricios' attorney notified Pro General,
then acting on behalf of Century-National, that the Mauricios
would accept $15, 000 - the Pennsylvania minimum financial
responsibility limit - to resolve their claims against
Frantz. (Id. at 4). Century-National did not settle
the claims. Ultimately, a final judgment in favor of the
Mauricios was entered against Frantz in the amount of $584,
438.04. (Id. at 5).
4, 2017, Century-National filed a complaint for declaratory
judgment in Sarasota County, Florida, against Frantz,
alleging that the policy issued to Frantz provided no bodily
injury liability coverage. (Id. at 4). On May 16,
2017, copies of the summons and the complaint were served on
Donald Frantz, father of Jacob D. Frantz, at Donald's
home at 887 Leeward Road, Venice, Florida. (Id.). At
the time of service, Frantz alleges he was over the age of 18
and not a resident of 887 Leeward Road, Venice, Florida.
(Id.). He further alleges that 887 Leeward Road,
Venice, Florida had not been his usual place of abode since
at least October 2016. (Id.). Finally, Frantz
alleges that he was never personally served with copies of
the summons or the complaint. (Id.).
13, 2017, after securing a default from the Clerk of the
Court, Century-National secured an order granting its motion
for final default judgment against Frantz in the declaratory
action. (Doc. # 1 at 78). The order granting the default
judgment states: “ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that said Motion
be, and the same is hereby GRANTED.” (Id.).
The order also states: “Award CENTURY-NATIONAL
INSURANCE COMPANY such additional affirmative relief as the
Court deems just and appropriate under the circumstances,
including attorney fees and all taxable costs of this
action.” (Id. at 79).
March 21, 2019, Plaintiffs brought this action in the Circuit
Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit in and for Sarasota
County, Florida. (Doc. # 1-1 at 1). Century-National timely
removed this action to federal court based on diversity of
citizenship. (Doc. # 1 at 1).
Complaint alleges two counts. Count I seeks relief from the
state court order granting Century-National's motion for
final default judgment under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure
1.540(b). In Count I, Plaintiffs allege Frantz was never
properly served. (Doc. # 1-1 at 6). Plaintiffs further allege
the state court order was based upon false representations by
Century-National. (Id.). Count II alleges bad faith
by Century-National. (Id. at 7). Plaintiffs allege
that Century-National owed a fiduciary duty of good faith to
Frantz to handle every aspect of the adjustment and defense
of the Mauricios' claim against him fairly and honestly
with due regard for his interests. (Id.). Plaintiffs
allege that Century-National failed in all of its duties.
(Id. at 8). Plaintiffs demand judgment against
Century-National in the amount of the final judgment entered
against Frantz in favor of the Mauricios. (Id. at
April, 29, 2019, Century-National filed the instant Motion to
Dismiss. (Doc. # 6). Plaintiffs have responded (Doc. # 16),
and the Motion is ripe for review.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), this Court accepts as true all the allegations in
the complaint and construes them in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomms.,
372 F.3d 1250, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004). Further, this Court
favors the plaintiff with all reasonable inferences from the
allegations in the complaint. Stephens v. Dep't of
Health & Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th
Cir. 1990). But,
[w]hile a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, 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. Factual ...