United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
HEATON, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Traci and Tony Kenyon filed this action in state court
against defendants Gagandeep Singh, Azad Singh, Amrik Singh,
Wilshire Insurance Company (“Wilshire”), and IAT
Insurance Group (“IAT”). The claims arise out of
a 2016 traffic accident in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma.
Defendants removed the case to this court and plaintiffs have
since filed amended complaints. The second amended complaint
(“complaint”) asserts negligence, negligent
entrustment, and gross negligence claims. Defendants
Wilshire and IAT have filed a motion to dismiss the claims
against them. [Doc. #31].
considering whether claims should be dismissed under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court accepts all well-pleaded
factual allegations of the complaint as true and views them
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
S.E.C. v. Shields, 744 F.3d 633, 640 (10th Cir.
2014). To survive the motion, the complaint must allege
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face” and “raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). In
other words, the facts alleged in the complaint must allow
the court to infer the defendant's liability.
Shields, 744 F.3d at 640 (citing Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). The
Twombly/Iqbal pleading standard “is a
middle ground between heightened fact pleading, which is
expressly rejected, and allowing complaints that are no more
than labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, which the Court stated will
not do.” Id. at 640-41 (quoting Khalik v.
United Air Lines, 671 F.3d 1188, 1191 (10th Cir. 2012)).
complaint alleges that Wilshire and IAT are the liability
insurers for the other defendants, who are alleged to be
“motor carriers” for purposes of the claims at
issue here. Wilshire and IAT argue for dismissal of the
claims against them on the basis that the complaint does not
allege a basis for a direct action. They correctly note that
Oklahoma does not ordinarily authorize direct actions against
an insurer. See Daigle v. Hamilton, 782 P.2d 1379,
1383 (Okla. 1989). However, that general rule is subject to
the statutory exception set out in 47 Okla. Stat. §
230.30, which authorizes a direct action where the Oklahoma
Corporation Commission has issued a license to the motor
carrier involved and the carrier has filed a liability
insurance policy with the Commission. This court has concluded
that those conditions are not satisfied merely by showing
registration via the Single State Registration System
applicable to interstate carriers, but that a plaintiff must
ultimately show the obtaining of a license from the
Commission and the filing of the liability policy with it.
Green v. ACE Am. Ins. Co., No. CIV-07-1377, 2008 WL
4372871 at *2-3 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 19, 2008). So the question
becomes whether the complaint sufficiently alleges these
elements and hence a basis for a direct action against the
and IAT argue that plaintiffs have not made, and cannot make,
the necessary showing because the claimed grounds for the
statutory exception are inconsistent with the carrier's
filings elsewhere. They ask that the court decide the issue
based on taking judicial notice of filings in other states.
The court declines to do so and concludes it is premature to
resolve here any factual issues that may exist. Rather, the
question now is the sufficiency of the complaint's
complaint alleges, on information and belief, that the motor
carrier defendants “operate under licenses/permits with
the Oklahoma Corporation Commission” and that they
“did obtain and file proof of insurance with the
OCC.” These factual allegations are sufficient to state
a basis for invoking the statutory exception and hence a
basis for a direct claim against Wilshire and IAT. If further
proceedings establish that, in light of the filings elsewhere
or otherwise, plaintiffs lacked a good faith basis for their
“information and belief allegations, that may have
eventual consequences for plaintiffs. But that possibility
does not warrant dismissal now, where the issue is the facial
sufficiency of the facts pleaded in the complaint.
event, the complaint sufficiently alleges a basis for a
direct claim against Wilshire and IAT based on 47 Okla. Stat.
§230.30. Their motion to dismiss [Doc. #31] is therefore
IS SO ORDERED.
 Plaintiffs appear to assume
“gross negligence” is a separate claim.
 47 Okla. Stat. § 230.30, provides
in pertinent part:
A. No license shall be issued by the Commission to any
carrier until after the carrier shall have filed with the
Commission a liability insurance policy or bond covering
public liability and property damage ... and the liability
and property damage insurance policy or bond shall bind the
obligor thereunder to make compensation for injuries to, or
death of, persons, and loss or damage to property, resulting
from the operation of any carrier for which the carrier is
legally liable. A copy of the policy or bond shall be filed
with the Commission, and, after judgment against the carrier
for any damage, the injured party may maintain an action upon
the policy or bond to recover the same, and shall be a proper
party to maintain such action.
 Plaintiffs argue the court should
reconsider its view of the reach of the statute in light of
contrary results reached by some Oklahoma trial courts.
However, in the absence of more specific guidance from the
Oklahoma appellate courts, the court is ...