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Dr. James Ragland, Regional Neurological v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

November 14, 2012

DR. JAMES RAGLAND, REGIONAL NEUROLOGICAL CENTER, P.C., AND DAKOTA MRI, INC., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH DAKOTA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Daniel L. Hovland, District Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

Before the Court is Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota's partial motion to dismiss filed on June 26, 2012. See Docket No. 4. The Court grants in part and denies in part the motion.

I. BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff, Dr. James Ragland, is a physician licensed to practice medicine in North Dakota. See Docket No. 1-1. Ragland provides medical services at the two clinics named as plaintiffs, the Neurological Center, P.C. and Dakota MRI, Inc. The Defendant, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (Blue Cross), is an insurance company and health plan administrator. The Plaintiffs provide medical services to patients covered under employee health plans administrated and insured by Blue Cross.

This lawsuit arose after Blue Cross allegedly began to scrutinize Dr. Ragland's medical practice and to deny insurance coverage for medical services provided. On May 23, 2012, the Plaintiffs filed a complaint in North Dakota state court in Burleigh County alleging the following eight (8) causes of action against Blue Cross:

(1) breach of contract;

(2) bad faith insurance practices;

(3) slander;

(4) intentional interference with contractual relationships;

(5) intentional interference with business advantages;

(6) civil extortion;

(7) intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress; and

(8) intentional interference with medical practice.

See Docket No. 1-1. On June 19, 2012, Blue Cross removed the lawsuit to the federal district court of North Dakota. See Docket No. 1.

On June 26, 2012, Blue Cross filed this motion to dismiss, contending dismissal of claims 3 through 8 is appropriate pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Docket Nos. 4 and 5. The Plaintiffs filed a responsive brief in opposition on July 23, 2012.*fn1 See Docket No. 13. Blue Cross filed a reply on August 6, 2012. See Docket No. 16.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading must contain a "short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits dismissal of claims if there has been a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true. Detailed factual allegations are not necessary under the Rule 8 pleading standard; rather a plaintiff must present grounds for relief which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint does not "suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of further 'factual ...


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