United States District Court, E.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
GERSHON, United States District Judge
the court is defendant State Farm Fire and Casualty
Company's ("State Farm's") motion to
dismiss plaintiff Gelsomina Maniello's complaint pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons
stated below, defendant's motion is granted and
plaintiffs complaint is dismissed with prejudice as to State
Factual and Procedural Background
brought this action for declaratory judgment, breach of
contract and bad faith against State Farm in New York state
court on March 3, 2016. Plaintiffs claims stem from denial of
insurance coverage for damage to plaintiffs property in
Whitestone, New York (the "property"), for which
plaintiff had purchased a homeowner's insurance policy
(the "policy") from State Farm. Complaint
¶¶8-9; Policy (Welch Decl. Ex. B) at 1. Plaintiffs
neighbors, Argyris and Polytimi Tsenesidis ("the
Tsenesidises") are also named as defendants; however the
complaint sets forth no allegations against, and seeks no
relief from, the Tsenesidises. The complaint alleges that the
Tsenesidises are named "as nominal Defendants in order
to provide them with notice of the action." Complaint
policy was in effect from November 1, 2005 to November 1,
2006. Complaint ¶9. The text of the policy provides that
"[n]o action shall be brought unless there has been
compliance with the policy provisions and the action is
started within two years after the occurrence causing loss or
damage." Policy at 34.
around April 2006, the retaining wall of the property was
damaged. Plaintiff submitted a claim to State Farm for that
damage that month. Complaint ¶9; May 8, 2006 Letter
Disclaiming Coverage (Carriero Decl. Ex. A) ("May 8
Letter") at 1. On May 8, 2006, State Farm disclaimed
coverage of plaintiff s claim, informing plaintiff that the
damage was excluded from her coverage under the policy.
Complaint ¶¶16-17; May 8 Letter. Specifically,
State Farm explained that plaintiffs policy did not cover
damage from earth movement and that all the damage to
plaintiffs property had resulted from earth movement that had
caused "soil retained by the seawall [to become]
misplaced." May 8 Letter at 1-3. State Farm's letter
disclaiming coverage noted that an inspection showed that
this earth movement had been caused by excavation and
construction on an adjacent property. Id. at 1.
result of State Farm's denial of coverage, plaintiff
believed she did not have a valid claim under the policy.
Complaint ¶18. Plaintiff proceeded to sue the
Tsenesidises in New York state court, claiming they caused
the collapse of her retaining wall and seeking money damages.
Id. ¶¶l 8-22. That action was scheduled
for trial at the time this complaint was filed. Id.
does not dispute that the present action, brought in 2016,
was filed almost ten years after the damage to the property
and State Farm's disclaimer of coverage, well outside of
both the two-year limitations period set forth in the policy
and the six-year limitation for contract claims set forth in
N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 213(2). Plaintiff, however, claims that
these limitations should be tolled because State Farm should
have known about plaintiffs action against the Tsenesidises
and should have informed the Tsenesidises of its disclaimer
of coverage. Complaint ¶¶24-28. Plaintiff does not
allege that the Tsenesidises were parties to the policy or
that she informed State Farm of her action against the
Farm removed this action to this court on April 1, 2016, and
then moved to dismiss plaintiffs claim on July 8, 2016. State
Farm argues that plaintiffs claims are time-barred. State
Farm further contends that, even if I do not dismiss the
claims as time-barred, plaintiffs declaratory judgment and
bad faith claims should be dismissed because (1) declaratory
relief is an inappropriate remedy and represents nothing more
than a duplicative claim for breach of contract, and (2)
there is no standalone cause of action for bad faith
recognized in New York.
motion to dismiss, defendant has offered the policy itself,
and plaintiff has offered State Farm's letter disclaiming
coverage. Neither document was attached to the complaint. I
have, however, considered both these documents, as they are
integral to the complaint, which refers to both the contract
and the denial of coverage, and relies heavily on the terms
and effect of both. See Nicosia v. Amazon.com, Inc.,
834 F.3d 220, 234 (2d Cir. 2016). No dispute exists regarding
the authenticity or accuracy of these documents, and there is
no material disputed issue of fact regarding their relevance.
See Id. at 231. For these reasons, it is unnecessary
to convert this Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss into a motion
for summary judgment. See In re Bank of N.Y.Mellon Corp.
Forex Transactions Litig., 921 F.Supp.2d 56, 70 n.79
(S.D.N.Y. 2013); see also Mangiafico v. Blumenthal,
471 F.3d 391, 398 (2d Cir. 2006).
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 Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). This standard is met "when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A court
should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim
if the factual allegations sufficiently "raise a right
to relief above the speculative level."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Plaintiffs claim for breach of ...