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Thomas Daniels Agency, Inc. v. Nationwide Insurance Co. of America

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

June 24, 2015

Thomas Daniels Agency, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Nationwide Insurance Company of America, and RGL Forensics, Inc., Defendants

Page 449

          For Thomas Daniels Agency Inc, Plaintiff: Aaron Eric Edwards, Lawrence Edward Richter, Jr, Patrick Thomas Napolski, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Richter Firm, Mt Pleasant, SC.

         For Nationwide Insurance Company of America, Defendant: Robert M Darroch, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Goodman McGuffey Lindsey and Johnson (FL), Sarasota, FL; Sean B Cox, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hall Booth Smith, Atlanta, GA; William James Flynn, LEAD ATTORNEY, Goodman McGuffey Lindsey and Johnson, Columbia, SC.

         For RGL Forensics Inc, Defendant: David W Overstreet, Steven Raymond Kropski, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Carlock Copeland Semler and Stair, Charleston, SC.

Page 450

         ORDER

         Richard M. Gergel, United States District Judge.

         Defendant RGL Forensic, Inc. (RGL) has filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Dkt. No. 21.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the motion with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involves an insurance coverage dispute between Plaintiff Thomas Daniels Agency, Inc. and its insurer Defendant Nationwide Insurance Company of America (Nationwide). The facts are taken from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and for purposes of this motion are presumed to be true. Nationwide insured Plaintiff under a policy covering a building and other property located in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Dkt. No. 16 ¶ 7.) On February 18, 2007, an automobile struck the North Charleston building, starting a fire that caused extensive damage to the building and other covered property. ( Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff filed a claim[1] and attempted to resolve it directly with Nationwide, relying on Nationwide's representations that it would pay the claim. ( Id. ¶ 10.)

         On September 8, 2008, an employee of RGL informed Plaintiff that Nationwide had hired RGL to calculate Plaintiff's loss. ( Id. ¶ 11.) On July 24, 2012, RGL requested " materials" from Plaintiff. ( Id. ¶ 13.) In response, Plaintiff furnished " all documents ... in Plaintiff's possession." ( Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff, after not hearing from Nationwide or RGL, wrote Nationwide for an update on February 17, 2014. ( Id. ¶ 15.) That same day, " Nationwide responded by forwarding an email from [RGL] asking for many of the same things as requested previously, which Plaintiff explained were unavailable." ( Id.) Nationwide has since refused to fully indemnify Plaintiff for the various losses caused by the fire on February 18, 2007. ( Id. ¶ 16.)

         On November 25, 2014, Plaintiff filed a civil action against Nationwide and RGL, alleging claims of breach of contract, bad faith, negligence, and fraud. (Dkt. No. 1-1 ¶ ¶ 16-60.) Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint on March 31, 2015. (Dkt. No. 16.) Plaintiff alleges that RGL was a " servant, agent or employee" of Nationwide, acting within the " scope of said service, agency, or employment,. . . thereby making Nationwide liable for the acts and/or omissions of [RGL] under the theory of respondeat superior." ( Id. at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff further alleges that Nationwide and RGL " induced Plaintiff to not take legal action by repeatedly assuring Plaintiff that the claim would be paid, or that more information was required before the claim would be paid ...." ( Id. ¶ 17.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         " After the pleadings are closed--but early enough not to delay trial--a party may move for judgment on the pleadings." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Rule 12(c) motions operate to " dispose of cases in which there is no substantive dispute that warrants the litigants and the court proceeding further." Lewis v. Excel Mech., LLC, 2:13-CV-281-PMD, 2013 WL 4585873 at * 1 (D.S.C. Aug. 28, 2013) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, ยง 1368 (3d ed. 2010)). A judgment on the pleadings is only warranted if " the moving party has clearly established that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the ...


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