See the full video at https://rumble.com/v2wttdw-no-privity-no-right-to-sue.html and at https://youtu.be/MmcdUew2fcM
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm Auto”) and Defendant State Farm General Insurance Company (“State Farm General”) moved the court to dismiss all Plaintiff’s claims against the entities. The motion was regarded as unopposed.
In Bridget Butler v. State Farm Fire And Casualty Company, State Farm General Insurance Company, And State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, No. 3:22-Cv-03433, United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division (June 23, 2023) a Bridget Butler whose home was damaged by two hurricanes sued three State Farm Insurance companies when only one insured her against the risk of loss of her property.
Hurricane Laura made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana then Hurricane Delta made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana. During the relevant time period, Plaintiff Bridget Butler owned property in Monroe, Louisiana. An entity of State Farm provided a policy of insurance to Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant failed to timely and adequately compensate Plaintiff for her substantial losses pursuant to the Policy. In turn, Plaintiff filed suit against State Farm Auto, State Farm General, and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“State Farm Fire and Casualty”) claiming liability for damages for breach of contract plus general damages and for statutory violations and penalties under Louisiana Revised Statutes.
State Farm General and State Farm Auto moved for dismissal of the claims against them. Plaintiff filed no response to the motion.
RULE 12(b)(6) STANDARD
Rule 12(b)(6) allows for dismissal when a plaintiff “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
LAW AND ANALYSIS
The Complaint alleges that the “Defendant” issued and maintained a Policy insuring Plaintiff’s Property. The Complaint does not provide a specific policy number, and the Complaint asserts a policy number was unable to be identified because “Defendant” did not comply with Plaintiff’s request for production of the policy number.
Attached to their Motion to Dismiss State Farm General and State Farm Auto put forth an insurance policy with the policy number 99-CC-X642-7, and both companies assert that the attached policy is the Policy referenced in the Complaint. The attached policy is from State Farm Fire and Casualty and names Plaintiff as insured and the Property as the location of premises insured with a policy period of twelve months beginning August 25, 2020. State Farm General and State Farm Auto are not listed as parties in the attached policy. Additionally, both State Farm General and State Farm Auto maintain that neither entity has issued a policy to Plaintiff.
Under Louisiana law, no action for breach of contract may lie in the absence of privity of contract between the parties. State Farm General and State Farm Auto are not parties to the attached policy, and each assert it did not provide Plaintiff with any insurance coverage. Therefore, neither State Farm General nor State Farm Auto are in privity of contract with the Plaintiff. According to the attached policy, Plaintiff is only in privity of contract with State Farm Fire and Casualty.
Defendants State Farm General Insurance Company and State Farm Automobile Insurance Company’s Motion to Dismiss was granted.
Plaintiff maintains claims against State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.
There should be no excuse for a plaintiff to require the State Farm entities that did not insure Ms. Butler to move the court for dismissal. A telephone call from defense counsel to plaintiff’s counsel informing Ms. Butler of the proper defendant and voluntarily dismiss the wrong State Farm entities. The decision of the court was easy but Judge Cain has more important things to do than deal with an unnecessary motion. Sanctions against Plaintiff’s attorney could have been warranted.
(c) 2023 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.
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About Barry Zalma
An insurance coverage and claims handling author, consultant and expert witness with more than 48 years of practical and court room experience.