United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are a motion to dismiss (Doc. 6) and brief in
support (Doc. 7) filed by Defendant State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm”).
Plaintiffs Devyan and Rache Henderson have filed a response
(Doc. 10). State Farm filed a reply (Doc. 11). State Farm moves
for dismissal of the Hendersons’ bad faith tort claim
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that
the Hendersons have not alleged sufficient facts to state the
claim but instead have only recited the elements.
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must
“‘accept as true all facts pleaded by the
non-moving party and grant all reasonable inferences from the
pleadings in favor of the non-moving party.’”
Gallagher v. City of Clayton, 699 F.3d 1013, 1016
(8th Cir. 2012) (quoting United States v. Any & All
Radio Station Transmission Equip., 207 F.3d 458, 462
(8th Cir. 2000)). “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)). In reviewing the
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the factual
allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the plaintiff. Lustgraaf v. Behrens, 619 F.3d 867,
872-73 (8th Cir. 2010). However, legal conclusions couched as
factual allegations are not entitled to the same presumption
of truth, and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. “[W]here the
Court concludes that the pleadings do not, as a matter of
law, set forth facts sufficient to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, the Court should grant the
defendant’s motion to dismiss.” In re
Staffmark, Inc. Sec. Litig., 123 F.Supp.2d 1160, 1163
(E.D. Ark. 2000).
succeed on the Arkansas tort of bad faith, a plaintiff must
show “affirmative misconduct by the insurance company,
without a good faith defense, and . . . the misconduct must
be dishonest, malicious, or oppressive in an attempt to avoid
its liability under an insurance policy.” Aetna
Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Broadway Arms Corp., 664 S.W.2d
463, 465 (Ark. 1984). Bad faith is “dishonest,
malicious, or oppressive conduct carried out with a state of
mind characterized by hatred, ill will, or a spirit of
revenge.” Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am. v.
Edwards, 210 S.W.3d 84, 87 (Ark. 2005). “The
standard for establishing a claim for bad faith is rigorous
and difficult to satisfy.” Id. “The tort
of bad faith does not arise from a mere denial of a claim;
there must be affirmative misconduct.” Selmon v.
Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 277 S.W.3d 196, 202 (Ark.
Hendersons allege that they were insured with State Farm and
maintained no fault medical payments coverage and coverage
for work loss, and that State farm denied payment on claims
made for this coverage. The Hendersons allege that this
failure to pay out was part of “a systematic course of
conduct in dealing with [State Farm’s] insured that has
been dishonest, oppressive, and malicious.” (Doc. 3,
¶ 17). This amounts to a legal conclusion of bad faith.
It is the “threadbare recital of the elements”
that is insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Though they adequately
plead a breach of contract, the Hendersons fail to allege
specific facts in their complaint that would support their
conclusion that the breach of contract was done in bad faith.
Their bad faith tort claim must be dismissed.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company’s motion to dismiss (Doc. 6) is
GRANTED, and Plaintiffs’ bad faith tort claim is
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
 The Court has considered State
Farm’s reply even though it was filed without leave.
See Doc. 8, ¶ 7 (“Parties must seek leave
before filing any reply in support of a motion other than a
summary judgment motion.”); W.D. Ark. R. 7.2(b)
(indicating that the only reply that may be filed as a matter