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Redstar Entertainment, LLC v. Sentinel Insurance Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 11, 2019

REDSTAR ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
SENTINEL INSURANCE CO., LTD., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          DENISE J. CASPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Redstar Entertainment, LLC (“Redstar”) has filed this lawsuit against Defendant Sentinel Insurance Co., LTD. (“Sentinel”) seeking, inter alia, to recover multiplied damages under Mass. Gen. L. c. 93A §§ 2 and 11 for unfair and deceptive business acts or practices, specifically violations of Mass. Gen. L. c. 176D (“Count II”). D. 1. Sentinel has moved to dismiss Count II. D. 7. For the reasons discussed below, the motion to dismiss is ALLOWED without prejudice.

         II. Standard of Review

          To decide a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court must determine if the well-pled facts alleged “plausibly narrate a claim for relief.” Schatz v. Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2012). “The plaintiff need not demonstrate [it] is likely to prevail” at this stage, only that its claims are facially plausible. Garcia- Catalán v. United States, 734 F.3d 100, 102 (1st Cir. 2013). Plausible means “more than a sheer possibility, ” and permits the Court to incorporate a contextual analysis of the facts. Id. at 102-03 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). This determination requires a two-step inquiry. Id. at 103. First, the Court must distinguish the factual allegations from the conclusory legal allegations in the complaint. Id. Second, taking plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court should be able to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678); Ocasio-Hernández v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 11 (1st Cir. 2011). The Court is not required to accept as true any legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”).

         III. Factual Allegations

         Unless otherwise noted, these facts are as alleged in the complaint, D. 1, and the Court accepts them as true for the purposes of deciding the pending motion.

         Plaintiff Redstar is a Delaware limited liability company registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts having its principal place of business in Cambridge, Massachusetts. D. 1 ¶ 1. Defendant Sentinel is a Connecticut corporation. Id. ¶ 2. Sentinel was the insurer for Redstar's Cambridge, Massachusetts property from February 23, 2015 to February 23, 2016. Id. ¶ 5. On August 15, 2015, Redstar's property sustained significant damages from a fire. Id. ¶ 6.

         Sentinel adjusted all claims resulting from the fire to Redstar's satisfaction except for Redstar's claim for Tenant's Improvements and Betterments (“TIB”). Id. ¶ 7. The parties' disagreement over the TIB claim forms the basis of this lawsuit. Id. ¶¶ 12 et seq.

         IV. Procedural History

         On May 30, 2018, Redstar initiated this action against Sentinel on two counts: a breach of contract claim (Count I) and the chapter 93A claim (Count II). D. 1. On December 10, 2018, Sentinel moved to dismiss Count II only for failure to state a claim. D. 7. The Court heard oral argument on the motion and took the matter under advisement. D. 11.

         V. Discussion

         Sentinel urges the Court to dismiss Redstar's Count II because commercial plaintiffs may not make a claim under chapter 93A § 11 that is premised on a per se violation of chapter 176D. D. 7. The Court agrees that a plaintiff does not have a cause of action under chapter 93A § 11 based solely on violations of chapter 176D as alleged here and dismisses Count II without prejudice.

         Sentinel primarily supports its argument with three cases, Polaroid Corp. v. Travelers Indemnity Co., 414 Mass. 747 (1993), Jet Line Servs., Inc. v. American Employers Ins. Co., 404 Mass. 706 (1989) and Kiewit Construction Co. v. Westchester Fire Ins. Co., 878 F.Supp. 298 (D. Mass. 1995). D. 7. All three involve similar sets of ...


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