Wilson v. Wilson, No. COA

Docket NºNo. COA
Citation468 S.E.2d 495, 121 N.C.App. 662
Case DateMarch 05, 1996
CourtCourt of Appeal of North Carolina (US)

Page 495

468 S.E.2d 495
121 N.C.App. 662
Aishah M. WILSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Ivey Thacker WILSON and Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance
Company, Defendants-Appellees.
No. COA 95-397.
Court of Appeals of North Carolina.
March 5, 1996.

Charles G. Monnett III & Associates by Charles G. Monnett, III, and John R. Anderson, Charlotte, for plaintiff-appellant.

Baucom, Claytor, Benton, Morgan, Wood & White, P.A. by Rex C. Morgan, Charlotte, for defendants-appellees.

WYNN, Judge.

On 4 February 1994, plaintiff-passenger, Aishah Wilson, suffered injury as a result of her husband's (Ivey Thacker Wilson) alleged negligence in driving a vehicle insured by defendant Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company (hereinafter Nationwide). Mr. Wilson owned the vehicle and was its named insured.

As a result of the accident, Ms. Wilson claimed medical expenses and other special damages that totalled approximately $2,621.00. In response to her demand for payment of her damages, Nationwide eventually offered $5,000.00 in full settlement of her claim. Ms. Wilson rejected this offer as inadequate, and filed the subject lawsuit.

In her complaint, Ms. Wilson sought damages based on three causes of action: (1) the negligence of Mr. Wilson, (2) unfair and deceptive trade practices by Mr. Wilson's insurer, Nationwide, and (3) punitive damages because of Nationwide's actions towards her.

In an order dated 26 January 1995, Judge James U. Downs dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) plaintiff's second and third causes of action. This order is the subject of the instant appeal.

__________

I

Ms. Wilson first contends that the trial court erred in dismissing under Rule 12(b)(6) her cause of action for unfair and deceptive trade practices. We disagree.

The standard for appellate review of a dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is familiar:

[121 N.C.App. 664] The question for the [reviewing] court is whether, as a matter of law, the allegations of the complaint, treated as true, are sufficient to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under some legal theory, whether properly labeled or not.

Miller v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 112 N.C.App. 295, 299-300, 435 S.E.2d 537, 541 (1993), disc. review denied 335 N.C. 770, 442 S.E.2d 519 (1994) (citations omitted).

In her complaint, Ms. Wilson alleged that Nationwide knowingly, and with such frequency as to indicate a general business

Page 497

practice, engaged in unfair and deceptive acts by:

a. Having a corporate policy and a general business practice of refusing to act in good faith toward the insureds of Nationwide and the victims of negligence of its insureds;

b. Having a general business practice and a policy of intentionally disregarding the duties owed by an insurance company to its insured and to the victims of negligence of its insureds;

c. Having a corporate policy and a general business practice of refusing to enter into good faith negotiations with regard to settlement of claims;

d. Having a corporate policy and a general business practice of attempting to coerce the victims of negligence into settlements for less than the amount of money properly owed to such victims by taking unfair advantage of the superior negotiating position of the Defendant Nationwide;

e. Having a corporate policy and a general business practice of refusing to evaluate and settle claims in a fair and reasonable manner;

. . . . .

h. Having a corporate policy and a general business practice of not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear....

. . . . .

j. Having a corporate policy and a general business practice of attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable person would have believed he or she was entitled....

[121 N.C.App. 665] Ms. Wilson argues that these allegations constitute violations of N.C.Gen.Stat. § 58-63-15 (1994), and thus are actionable under N.C.Gen.Stat. § 75-1.1 (1994) et seq.

Assuming that the allegations stated in her complaint are true, as we must when reviewing a dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Miller, 112 N.C.App. at 299-300, 435 S.E.2d at 541, we conclude that North Carolina does not recognize a cause of action for third-party claimants against the insurance company of an adverse party based on unfair and deceptive trade practices under N.C.G.S. § 75-1.1.

While this is an issue of first impression in our State, we have little difficulty in deciding that plaintiff's allegations are flawed. She relies on our Supreme Court's pronouncement in Pearce v. American Defender Life Ins. Co., 316 N.C. 461, 343 S.E.2d 174 (1986) for the proposition that a violation of N.C.G.S. § 58-63.15 constitutes a per se unfair and deceptive trade practice, which violates N.C.G.S. § 75-1.1 as a matter of law. 316 N.C. at 470, 343 S.E.2d at 179, see also Miller, 112 N.C.App. at 302, 435 S.E.2d at 542. However, in Pearce and Miller, the actions involved plaintiff-insureds who were in privity with the defendant-insurers. See Pearce, 316...

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36 practice notes
  • Elmore v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 24634.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 22, 1998
    ...N.J.Super. 163, 507 A.2d 247 (1986); Browdy v. State-Wide Ins. Co., 56 Misc.2d 610, 289 N.Y.S.2d 711 (N.Y.Sup.1968); Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 468 S.E.2d 495 (1996); Murrell v. Williamsburg Local School Dist., 92 Ohio App.3d 92, 634 N.E.2d 263 (1993); Allstate Ins. Co. v. Amick, 6......
  • STATE EX REL. ALLSTATE INS. v. Gaughan, No. 24510.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 14, 1998
    ...988 F.2d 1210 (5th Cir.1993); Earth Scientists v. United States Fidelity & Guar., 619 F.Supp. 1465 (D.Kan.1985); Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 468 S.E.2d 495 (N.C.App. 1996); Dvorak v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co., 508 N.W.2d 329 (N.D.1993); Herrig v. Herrig, 844 P.2d 487 (Wy.1......
  • Loudin v. Nat'l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co., No. 35763.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • October 24, 2011
    ...spouse against the other spouse. See Smith v. Allstate Ins. Co., 202 F.Supp.2d 1061 (D.Ariz.2002) (wife sued husband); Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 468 S.E.2d 495 (1996) (wife sued husband); Gillette v. Estate of Gillette, 163 Ohio App.3d 426, 837 N.E.2d 1283, 1288 (2005) (wife sued ......
  • Bussian v. Daimlerchrysler Corp., No. 1:004 CV 387.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • January 24, 2006
    ...between Plaintiff and Defendants, citing Prince v. Wright, 141 N.C.App. 262, 268, 541 S.E.2d 191, 196 (2000) and Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 665, 468 S.E.2d 495, 497 (1996); and (2) there is nothing unfair or deceptive about Defendants' failure to inform Plaintiff that he might need......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • Elmore v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 24634.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 22, 1998
    ...N.J.Super. 163, 507 A.2d 247 (1986); Browdy v. State-Wide Ins. Co., 56 Misc.2d 610, 289 N.Y.S.2d 711 (N.Y.Sup.1968); Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 468 S.E.2d 495 (1996); Murrell v. Williamsburg Local School Dist., 92 Ohio App.3d 92, 634 N.E.2d 263 (1993); Allstate Ins. Co. v. Amick, 6......
  • STATE EX REL. ALLSTATE INS. v. Gaughan, No. 24510.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 14, 1998
    ...988 F.2d 1210 (5th Cir.1993); Earth Scientists v. United States Fidelity & Guar., 619 F.Supp. 1465 (D.Kan.1985); Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 468 S.E.2d 495 (N.C.App. 1996); Dvorak v. American Family Mutual Ins. Co., 508 N.W.2d 329 (N.D.1993); Herrig v. Herrig, 844 P.2d 487 (Wy.1992)......
  • Loudin v. Nat'l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co., No. 35763.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • October 24, 2011
    ...spouse against the other spouse. See Smith v. Allstate Ins. Co., 202 F.Supp.2d 1061 (D.Ariz.2002) (wife sued husband); Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 468 S.E.2d 495 (1996) (wife sued husband); Gillette v. Estate of Gillette, 163 Ohio App.3d 426, 837 N.E.2d 1283, 1288 (2005) (wife sued ......
  • Bussian v. Daimlerchrysler Corp., No. 1:004 CV 387.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • January 24, 2006
    ...between Plaintiff and Defendants, citing Prince v. Wright, 141 N.C.App. 262, 268, 541 S.E.2d 191, 196 (2000) and Wilson v. Wilson, 121 N.C.App. 662, 665, 468 S.E.2d 495, 497 (1996); and (2) there is nothing unfair or deceptive about Defendants' failure to inform Plaintiff that he might need......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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