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Frantz v. Century-National Insurance Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

September 13, 2019




         This matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant Century-National Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint (Doc. # 31), filed on August 16, 2019. Plaintiffs Jacob D. Frantz, Jan M. Mauricio, and John Mauricio responded on August 30, 2019 (Doc. # 32). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted.

         I. Background

         The Court has already set forth the facts underlying this case and the pertinent procedural history in its July 3, 2019, order granting Defendant's motion to dismiss the original Complaint and its July 26, 2019, order granting Plaintiffs an extension of time in which to file an Amended Complaint. Therefore, the Court will set forth only the facts pertinent to its disposition of the instant Motion.

         This case began in February 2015, when Frantz and the Mauricios were involved in an automobile accident. (Doc. # 29 at ¶¶ 5-6). Frantz alleges that he was insured for the automobile accident by Century-National. (Id. at ¶ 7). On May 4, 2017, Century-National filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in Sarasota County, Florida, in No. 2017-CA-002209, against Frantz, alleging that the policy issued to Frantz provided no bodily injury liability coverage. (Id. at ¶ 15). A copy of the summons and complaint in that case were served on Frantz's father, and Frantz has alleged that he had no actual notice of the declaratory judgment proceedings against him. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-17).

         On June 13, 2017, after securing a default from the Clerk of the Court, Century-National obtained an order granting its motion for final default judgment against Frantz in the declaratory judgment action. (Id. at ¶ 18; Doc. # 1 at 78-79). The June 13, 2017, order stated that Frantz's insurance policy with Century-National “does not provide any bodily injury liability insurance coverage” and that Century-National “owes no duty to defend and/or indemnify” Frantz for any bodily injury claim brought by Jan Mauricio or any loss of consortium claim brought by John Mauricio in connection with the 2015 automobile accident. (Doc. # 1 at 78-79). In its previous order, this Court determined that the June 13, 2017, order did not contain sufficient words demonstrating finality and was not a final judgment for res judicata purposes. (Doc. # 23 at 10-12).

         Accordingly, approximately one week after this Court entered its order on Century-National's motion to dismiss, Century-National moved in state court for an entry of final default judgment in the underlying declaratory action. (Doc. # 24-1). Frantz, in turn, filed a response to that motion, a motion to set aside the default, and requested a hearing before the state court judge. (Doc. # 24-3). To this Court's knowledge, Century-National's motion for entry of final default judgment remains pending before the state court.

         The Amended Complaint, like the original Complaint, contains two counts. Count 1 seeks relief from the June 13, 2017, state court order under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540(b). (Doc. # 29 at 6-7). Count 2 alleges bad faith on the part of Century-National. (Id. at 7-10).

         On August 16, 2019, Century-National moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 31). Plaintiffs have responded (Doc. # 32), and the Motion is ripe for review.

         II. Legal Standard

         On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 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, the 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 allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(internal citations omitted). Courts are not “bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         III. ...

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