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Parker v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

September 27, 2017

FRANCIS PARKER, STEPHANIE ALLISON PARKER PLAINTIFFS
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY DEFENDANT

          ORDER

          CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are Allstate Insurance Company's motions for judgment on the pleadings and leave to file a supplemental brief. Docket Nos. 6 and 25. For the reasons stated below, the motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, while the motion for leave to file a supplemental brief is DENIED.

         I. Background

         This case involves two disputes between Allstate and both Francis and Stephanie Parker. These disputes trace their roots to January 2014, when Stephanie Parker - while driving a 2003 Toyota Avalon owned by her mother, Francis - was hit by a driver insured by Allstate.

         The first dispute involves Allstate's management of the post-accident settlement process. The Parkers allege that Allstate delayed that process, refused to give the Parkers an adequate replacement car, and refused to grant the Parkers an adequate settlement.

         The second dispute involves Allstate's handling of the Parkers' car during the settlement process. The Parkers allege that Allstate impounded their car, threatened to have it sold, and demanded that the Parkers pay car storage charges - all in an attempt to force the Parkers to accept an inadequate settlement.

         In October 2016, the Parkers sought to resolve both these disputes by bringing a host of tort claims against Allstate in state court, requesting $140, 000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.[1] Allstate responded by removing the case to this Court and moving for judgment on the pleadings. In June 2017, Allstate filed a motion for leave to file supplemental briefing regarding its motion for judgment on the pleadings.

         II. Legal Standard

         Motions for judgment on the pleadings are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).

The standard for deciding a Rule 12(c) motion is the same as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. The plaintiff must plead enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Guidry v. Am. Pub. Life Ins. Co., 512 F.3d 177, 180 (5th Cir. 2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted).

         It is “well-established” that plaintiffs who fail to meet their burden on a motion for judgment on the pleadings and yet “may still have a viable avenue to recover” should be “granted leave to amend their complaint and make their ‘best case.'” Boutwell v. Time Ins. Co., No. 3:11-CV-689-CWR-LRA, 2013 WL 53902, at *4 (S.D.Miss. Jan. 3, 2013) (citation omitted).

         III. Discussion

         The Parkers' complaint alleges that, in both managing the post-accident settlement process and handling the Parkers' car during that process, Allstate committed “intentional torts, ” fraud, and negligence.[2] Docket No. 3-1 at 6-7. For the reasons that follow, Allstate is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on all of these claims. The Parkers, however, may have a viable avenue to recover on claims involving Allstate's handling of their car. ...


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