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Commerce and Industry Insurance Co. v. HR Staffing, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

January 8, 2015

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
HR STAFFING, INC., Defendant.

Ashley N. Schawang, SHOOK, HARDY & BACON L.L.P, Kansas City, MO

Britta E. Warren, BLACK HELTERLINE, LLP, Portland, OR

Courtney A. Hasselberg, SHOOK, HARDY & BACON L.L.P, Irvine, CA, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Robert A. Kerr, KERR LAW OFFICE P.C., Oregon City, OR, Attorney for Defendant.

OPINION & ORDER

MARCO A. HERNNDEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Commerce and Industry Insurance Company ("Commerce & Industry") moves to dismiss Defendant HR Staffing, Inc.'s amended breach of contract counterclaim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Because HR Staffing fails to allege one of the elements necessary to state a claim, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

In June of 2011, Commerce & Industry and HR Staffing entered into two contracts for workers compensation insurance. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, Ex. A & Ex. B. Commerce & Industry alleges these contracts provided that HR Staffing would initially pay an estimated premium and, after Commerce & Industry audited its employee records, subsequently pay a final premium. Compl. ¶¶ 8 & 9. Commerce & Industry further alleges that it provided HR Staffing with insurance coverage, but HR Staffing failed to pay the final premiums, in breach of the two contracts. Compl. ¶¶ 10, 25. Commerce & Industry alleges damages of $268, 469.00. Compl. ¶ 25. In the alternative, Commerce & Industry claims that HR Staffing's conduct amounts to unjust enrichment. Compl. ¶¶ 26-36.

On May 22, 2014, HR Staffing answered Commerce & Industry's complaint and counterclaimed, also alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Answer ¶¶ 18-28. In an October 1, 2014 order, this Court dismissed HR Staffing's counterclaims because they were pled with insufficient facts to determine HR Staffing's right to relief, but granted HR Staffing leave to amend.

Now, HR Staffing submits an amended counterclaim for breach of contract only. HR Staffing claims that Commerce & Industry breached the "Multi-state Policy, " one of the two insurance contracts at issue in this case. Am. Answer ¶ 22. HR Staffing alleges that the Multi-state Policy contained two relevant provisions: (1) that Commerce & Industry would pay promptly when due the benefits required of HR Staffing by the workers compensation law, and (2) that Commerce & Industry would pay all sums that HR Staffing was legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury to HR Staffing's employees. Am. Answer ¶ 22. HR Staffing claims it paid at least $88, 507.20 to Ronald Weber, an injured employee who was covered by the Multi-state Policy. Am. Answer ¶ 19-21. HR Staffing further alleges that it "asked" Commerce & Industry to reimburse it for that payment but Commerce & Industry "failed and refused" to do so. Am. Answer ¶ 21. HR Staffing alleges that it incurred at least $88, 507.20 in damages as a result of Commerce & Industry's breach of the Multi-state Policy.

STANDARDS

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim may be granted only when there is no cognizable legal theory to support the claim or when the complaint lacks sufficient factual allegations to state a facially plausible claim for relief. Shroyer v. New Cingular Wireless Servs., Inc., 622 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2010). In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint's factual allegations, the court must accept all material facts alleged in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Wilson v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 668 F.3d 1136, 1140 (9th Cir. 2012). However, the court need not accept conclusory allegations as truthful. Holden v. Hagopian, 978 F.2d 1115, 1121 (9th Cir. 1992).

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) will be granted if a plaintiff alleges the "grounds" of his "entitlement to relief" with nothing "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action...." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ... on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id . (citations and footnote omitted). The plaintiff must plead "factual content that allows the court to draw ...


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