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Advanced Surgery Center LLC v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

September 11, 2017

Advanced Surgery Center LLC, Plaintiff,
Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Defendant.


          Nancy G. Edmunds United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Docket 10.) Plaintiff's complaint arises out of a motor vehicle accident and claims related to the Michigan No-Fault Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 500.3101, et seq. Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's motion and Defendant filed a reply. (Dkts. 12, 13.) The Court heard Defendant's motion on August 16, 2017.

         I. FACTS

         Plaintiff Advanced Surgery Center (“Plaintiff”) is a health care provider who provided necessary medical services and accommodations for Vaneshia Williams (not a party to this action), after Williams sustained bodily injuries in a motor vehicle accident. (Compl. ¶¶ 5-7.) The accident occurred on September 8, 2015. (Def.'s Br. in Support of Mot. Dismiss 1, dkt. 10.) Williams has a no fault policy with Defendant, to cover the expenses incurred in the accident.[1] (Compl. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff submitted to Defendant proof of its charges for services it provided to Williams for injuries that arose from the motor vehicle accident. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Defendant did not pay Plaintiff and Plaintiff brought this action for breach of contract, initially filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeking declaratory relief and a judgment in the amount of approximately $75, 000.000, together with interest, costs and attorneys fees. (Compl. ¶¶ 10-14.) Defendant removed to this Court on January 16, 2017. (Dkt. 1.)

         Defendant now seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's cause of action on the basis of the Michigan Supreme Court's recent decision in Covenant Med. Ctr., Inc. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 895 N.W.2d 490 (Mich. 2017), arguing that a healthcare provider such as Plaintiff does not possess a statutory cause of action against a No-Fault insurer for the payment of an injured person's benefits. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 1.)


         Defendant seeks to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), alleging that Plaintiff lacks standing to pursue a direct cause of action against Defendant, and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), alleging the "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ.

         P. 12(b)(1), (6). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) provides the basis for a motion to dismiss for “lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). “Standing represents a jurisdictional requirement which remains open to review at all stages of the litigation.” National Org. For Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 255 (1994).

Motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction fall into two general categories: facial attacks and factual attacks. A facial attack is a challenge to the sufficiency of the pleading itself. On such a motion, the court must take the material allegations of the petition as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. A factual attack, on the other hand, is not a challenge to the sufficiency of the pleading's allegations, but a challenge to the factual existence of subject matter jurisdiction. On such a motion, no presumptive truthfulness applies to the factual allegations, and the court is free to weigh the evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power to hear the case.

U.S. v. Ritchie, 15 F.3d 592, 598 (6th Cir. 1994) (citations and emphasis omitted).

         With respect to “failure to state a claim, ” the Sixth Circuit noted that under the United States Supreme Court's heightened pleading standard laid out in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), “a complaint only survives a motion to dismiss if it contains sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Estate of Barney v. PNC Bank, Nat'l Ass'n, 714 F.3d 920, 924 (6th Cir. 2013) (internal quotations and citations omitted). The court in Estate of Barney goes on to state that under Iqbal, “[a] claim is plausible 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. (internal quotations and citations omitted). Furthermore, while the "plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Estate of Barney, 714 F.3d at 924 (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). If the plaintiffs do "not nudge[ ] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, their complaint must be dismissed." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Finally, the Court must keep in mind that “on a motion to dismiss, courts are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Id. at 555 (quotation and citation omitted).

         “[D]ocuments attached to the pleadings become part of the pleadings and may be considered on a motion to dismiss.” Commercial Money Ctr., Inc. v. Ill. Union Ins. Co., 508 F.3d 327, 335 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c)). "A court may consider matters of public record in deciding a motion to dismiss without converting the motion to one for summary judgment.” Id. at 336. "In addition, when a document is referred to in the pleadings and is integral to the claims, it may be considered without converting a motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment." Id. at 335-36; see also Greenberg v. Life Ins. Co. of Va., 177 F.3d 507, 514 (6th Cir. 1999)(documents not attached to the pleadings may still be considered part of the pleadings when the “document is referred to in the complaint and is central to the plaintiff's claim”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Whether Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Bring ...

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