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District Court Dismisses Proposed Insurance Class Action But Grants Leave to Amend Complaint

Eames v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., C.A. No. 04-1324-KAJ, 412 F. Supp. 431 (D. Del. 2006). Plaintiffs filed a proposed class action alleging that defendant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company ("Nationwide") misrepresented to class members the limits of liability of the Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") coverage that was included in Nationwide's automobile policies. Nationwide moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Plaintiffs alleged that Nationwide's policy language that characterized the purchased limits of liability for PIP coverage as "full" limits were false and misleading because Nationwide intended to provide only the minimum statutory limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident under its policies. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the class members were entitled to "full" coverage, which they alleged was represented by the $100,000 per person and $300,000 maximum PIP limits made available by Nationwide in its insurance policy contracts (Count I). Plaintiffs also alleged that Nationwide breached the insurance contracts by failing to provide "full" coverage limits (Count II), that Nationwide's breach was in bad faith (Count III), and that Nationwide was liable for consumer fraud and civil conspiracy (Count IV). The Court dismissed Counts I, II and III with prejudice, holding that the insurance contract at issue unambiguously provided for liability limits of $15,000/$30,000. The Court determined that although the plaintiffs did not allege consumer fraud with the particularity necessary to satisfy Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b), they set forth a claim for fraud in "skeletal form," and therefore dismissed Count IV without prejudice, and granted leave to amend the complaint. Share


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