United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS.
10 AND 15]
Y. Pearson United States District Judge.
is Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF
No. 10), filed two days before the Case Management Conference
(“CMC”). For the reasons set forth in Section II.A.
below, the motion is denied.
pending is Plaintiff's Motion to Extend Expert Report and
Associated Discovery Deadlines by Sixty Days (ECF No.
15). For good cause shown, the motion is
granted without opposition as set forth in Section II.B.
Complaint (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID #: 6-11) in the
above-entitled action was filed in the Mahoning County, Ohio
Court of Common Pleas on December 11, 2018. It alleges that
Plaintiff suffered property damage to his residence as a
result of a fire that occurred while insured under a Liberty
policy of insurance designated as Policy No.
H35-281-103241-70 (the “Policy”). ECF No. 1-1 at
PageID #: 7-8, ¶¶ 4, 8. The alleged loss occurred
on February 26, 2017. ECF No. 1-1 at PageID #: 7-8,
¶ 8. Plaintiff claims that he complied with the
obligations of the Policy and that Defendant improperly
refused to make payment for the loss. Liberty formally denied
coverage for the claim in November 2018, approximately 21
months after the fire loss. ECF No. 1-1 at PageID #: 8,
¶ 14. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought claims
against Defendant for breach of contract (First Claim) and
bad faith (Second Claim).
Policy has certain general conditions that are identified
beginning on page 8 of the Policy. On page 10, the Policy
sets forth a limitation of action clause that provides:
8. Suit Against Us. No action can be brought
unless the policy provisions have been complied with and the
action is started within one year after the date of loss.
ECF No. 11-1 at 91.
Law and Analysis
Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 10)
procedural standard for determining a judgment on the
pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) is indistinguishable from
the standard of review for dismissals based on failure to
state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). U.S. ex rel.
Bledsoe v. Community Health Systems, Inc., 342 F.3d 634,
643 (6th Cir. 2003); Ziegler v. IBP Hog Market,
Inc., 249 F.3d 509, 511-12 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing
Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 399-400 (6th Cir.
1999)). In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6), or a motion for judgment on the
pleadings under Rule 12(c), the Court must take all
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and
construe those allegations in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (citations omitted). “To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.
When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court
should assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Id. at 679. The factual allegations in the complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
other words, claims set forth in a complaint must be
plausible, rather than conceivable. Id. at 570.
“[When] the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged __ but it has not ‘show[n]'
__ ‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). The factual allegations in the complaint
“must contain something more . . . than . . . a
statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a
legally cognizable right of action.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, p. 235-236
(3d ed. 2004)). In addition to reviewing the claims set forth
in the complaint, a court may also consider exhibits, public
records, and items appearing in the record of the case as
long as the items are referenced in the complaint and are
central to the claims contained therein. Bassett v.
Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426,
430 (6th Cir. 2008); Erie County, Ohio v. Morton Salt,
Inc., 702 F.3d 860, 863 (6th Cir. 2012).
citing the unreported case of Walker v. Safeco Ins. Co.
of Indiana, No. 5:17CV2214 (N.D. Ohio Aug. 13, 2018)
(Adams, J.),  argues that Plaintiff has failed to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted for two reasons.
First, Plaintiff's breach of contract claim fails because
it was brought outside the limitation period in the Policy.
Second, Plaintiff's bad faith claim cannot succeed where
the breach of contract claim fails.
responds that Liberty has failed to cite persuasive legal
authority to meet its burden to demonstrate why any portion
of his claims should be dismissed on the text of the
Complaint (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID #: 6-11) and prior to the
completion of discovery. In addition, some of the legal
authority upon which Defendant relies is inaccurately
represented and does not have the effect stated in the
motion. Finally, Plaintiff argues Liberty cannot cite any
technical deficiencies in the ...