United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tiffany and Sandy Martin filed this action asserting contract
and tort claims against Defendant Bristol West Insurance
Company. The matter is before the Court for resolution of
Defendant's motion to dismiss, or in the alternative,
motion to stay. For the reasons explained below, the Court
grants Defendant's motion to dismiss and dismisses this
action without prejudice.
and Procedural History
August 24, 2012, Plaintiff Tiffany Martin was the driver of a
Jeep owned and insured by Plaintiff Sandy Martin. Complaint,
ECF No. 1-1 at ¶¶ 1-2, 6-7. Plaintiff Tiffany
Martin was involved in an automobile accident when the Jeep
she was driving was struck from behind by a vehicle owned and
operated by Glenda Simmons. Id. at ¶¶
6-10, 13. Plaintiff Tiffany Martin allegedly suffered
injuries to her back that required medical treatment.
Id. at ¶¶ 11-12, 14.
time of the accident, Plaintiff Sandy Martin maintained an
insurance policy through Defendant, which included a
provision for underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
Id. at ¶¶ 15-19. Plaintiff Tiffany Martin
attempted to settle with Defendant by demanding the policy
limits of $200, 000, but Defendant made no offers to settle
the matter. Id. at ¶¶ 20-21. On August 7,
2015, Plaintiff Tiffany Martin sent Defendant a letter
notifying that it was acting in bad faith. Id. at
August 20, 2015, Plaintiffs filed the instant bad faith
action in the Court of Common Pleas for Horry County, South
Carolina, against Defendant, alleging causes of action for
breach of contract, violation of the implied covenant of good
faith and fair dealing, insurance bad faith, and negligence.
Id. at ¶¶ 23-49. On October 7, 2015,
Defendant removed the action to this Court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. ECF
filing the instant action, Plaintiff Tiffany Martin
separately filed a personal injury action against Simmons,
the alleged at-fault driver, in the Horry County Court of
Common Pleas on October 28, 2015. ECF No. 12 at 2; see
Tiffany M. Martin v. Glenda Simmons, Case No.
appeared in the personal injury action on behalf of Simmons
and filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that the
lawsuit-which arose from the August 24, 2012 accident-was
barred by the three-year statute of limitations for personal
injury actions contained in section 15-3-530(5) of the South
Carolina Code (2005). ECF No. 12 at 2. On January 20, 2016,
the state circuit court granted Defendant's motion to
dismiss. Id.; see Martin v. Simmons, Order
filed Jan. 20, 2016, available at
On February 1, 2016, Plaintiff Tiffany Martin filed a timely
notice of appeal of the circuit court's order; the appeal
is currently pending before the South Carolina Court of
February 16, 2016, Defendant filed the instant motion to
dismiss, or in the alternative, motion to stay. ECF No. 12.
Plaintiffs filed a timely response in opposition, and
Defendant filed a timely reply. ECF Nos. 13 & 14.
deciding a motion to dismiss made under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all well-pled facts
alleged in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Nemet Chevrolet,
Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 253
(4th Cir. 2009). A complaint must state a
“‘plausible claim for relief'” to
survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Walters v.
McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)). The
Court will not dismiss the plaintiff's complaint so long
as he provides adequate detail about his claims to show he
has a “more-than-conceivable chance of success on the
merits.” Owens v. Baltimore City State's
Attorneys Office, 767 F.3d 379, 396 (4th Cir. 2014)
(citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2006)). “Once a claim has been stated adequately,
it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent
with the allegations in the complaint.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563. A complaint will survive a
motion to dismiss if it contains “enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Id. at 570. “[C]ourts must consider the
complaint in its entirety, as well as other sources courts
ordinarily examine when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to
dismiss, in particular, documents incorporated into the
complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take
judicial notice.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues &
Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007).
motion, Defendant argues the instant action is premature and
must be dismissed because Plaintiffs filed it before
filing and serving copies of the pleadings in the underlying
personal injury action. ECF No. 12 at 3. Alternatively,
Defendant requests that the Court stay this action pending
resolution of the appeal in the underlying action.
Id. at 3-4.
response, Plaintiffs assert the Court should not dismiss this
case because an appeal is pending in the underlying personal
injury action. ECF No. 13 at 2. Plaintiffs state they
“would concur with Defendant that this action should
be stayed pending the resolution of the Plaintiff's
[Tiffany Martin's] appeal.” Id.
reply to Plaintiffs' response in opposition, Defendant
argues the disposition of Plaintiff Tiffany Martin's
state court appeal in the personal injury action “will
have no effect on the prematurity of the instant bad
faith/breach of contract action, ” and therefore the
instant action should be dismissed. ECF No. 14 at 3.