Suing Insurance Company – Proper Pleadings

Saginaw insurance lawyers will know that a lot of cases against insurance companies end up in Federal Court. The pleading standard in Federal Court is high. Understanding the Rule 12(b)(6) is important. This is illustrated in a 2015, opinion from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The style of the case is Infectious Disease Doctors,P.A. v. BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, et al.
In this case the pleadings were found to be adequate. What is important to realize is most insurance companies will have their lawyers file motions to get the case thrown out of court on technicalities. You must be prepared for this.
To defeat a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” A claim meets the plausibility test “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” The “factual allegations of a complaint 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.” When the allegations of the pleading do not allow the court to infer more than the mere possibility of wrongdoing, they fall short of showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept all well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. In ruling on such a motion, the court cannot look beyond the pleadings. The pleadings include the complaint and any documents attached to it. Likewise, “‘documents that a defendant attaches to a motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if they are referred to in the plaintiff’s complaint and are central to the plaintiff’s claims.'” In this regard, a document that is part of the record but not referred to in a plaintiff’s complaint and not attached to a motion to dismiss may not be considered by the court in ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion.
The ultimate question in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is whether the complaint states a valid claim when it is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. While well-pleaded facts of a complaint are to be accepted as true, legal conclusions are not “entitled to the assumption of truth.” Further, a court is not to strain to find inferences favorable to the plaintiff and is not to accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions, or legal conclusions. The court does not evaluate the plaintiff’s likelihood of success; instead, it only determines whether the plaintiff has pleaded a legally cognizable claim. Stated another way, when a court deals with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, its task is to test the sufficiency of the allegations contained in the pleadings to determine whether they are adequate enough to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Accordingly, denial of a 12(b)(6) motion has no bearing on whether a plaintiff ultimately establishes the necessary proof to prevail on a claim that withstands a 12(b)(6) challenge.