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State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm Auto”) and Defendant State Farm General Insurance Company (“State Farm General”) asked the court to dismiss all of the plaintiff’s claims against the entities. The motion was considered without objection.
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, WD 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 risk of loss of her property.
Hurricane Laura made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana after 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 insurance to the plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant failed to timely and adequately compensate Plaintiff for her substantial losses pursuant to the policy. In turn, the plaintiff brought suit against State Farm Auto, State Farm General and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“State Farm Fire and Casualty”) seeking damages for breach of contract plus general damages and for statutory violations and penalties under the Louisiana Revised Statutes.
State Farm General and State Farm Auto moved to dismiss the claims against them. The plaintiff did not file a response to the motion.
RULE 12(b)(6) STANDARD
Rule 12(b)(6) permits dismissal when a plaintiff “fails[s] to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”
LAW AND ANALYSIS
The complaint alleges that the “Defendant” issued and maintained an insurance policy insuring the plaintiff’s property. The complaint does not provide a specific policy number, and the complaint alleges that a policy number could not be identified because the “Defendant” did not comply with the plaintiff’s request for production of the policy number.
Attached to their motion to dismiss State Farm General and State Farm Auto filed a policy with policy number 99-CC-X642-7, and both companies claim that the attached policy is the policy referenced in the complaint. The attached policy is from State Farm Fire and Casualty and names the plaintiff as the insured and the property as the location of the insured premises with a twelve month policy period beginning August 25, 2020. State Farm General and State Farm Auto are not listed as parties to the attached policy . Additionally, both State Farm General and State Farm Auto allege that neither entity issued a policy to plaintiff.
Under Louisiana law, no cause of action for breach of contract may arise in the absence of contractual protection between the parties. State Farm General and State Farm Auto are not parties to the attached insurance policy, and each contends that they did not provide plaintiff with any insurance coverage. Therefore, neither State Farm General nor State Farm Auto has contractual standing with the plaintiff. Pursuant to the attached policy, plaintiff has contractual rights only with State Farm Fire and Casualty.
Defendants State Farm General Insurance Company and State Farm Automobile Insurance Company’s motion to dismiss is granted.
Plaintiff maintains claims against State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.
There should be no excuse for a plaintiff to demand that the state agricultural entities that did not insure Ms. Butler moves the court for dismissal. A telephone call from defense counsel to plaintiff’s counsel informing Butler of the correct defendant and voluntary dismissal of the wrong State Farm entities. The court’s decision was easy but Judge Cain has more important things to do than deal with an unnecessary motion. Sanctions against the plaintiff’s counsel could have been justified.
(c) 2023 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.
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