United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division
STAN and RAINY WAGNER, on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
SUMMIT AIR AMBULANCE, LLC, REACH AIR MEDICAL SERVICES, LLC, and DOES I-X, Defendants.
Morris, United States District Court Judge
Stan and Rainy Wagner, on behalf of themselves and a proposed
class of others similarly situated, filed this action in
Montana's Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin
County, on July 18, 2017. (Doc. 5.) Defendants Summit Air
Ambulance and REACH Air Medical Services, LLC removed the
case to federal court on August 18, 2017. (Doc. 1.)
Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on
August 25, 2017. (Doc. 2.)
brought their six-year-old son, W.W., to his pediatrician on
August 27, 2015, to evaluate headaches, vomiting, and
unsteady gait. (Doc. 5 at 5.) Upon discovery of a brain
tumor, W.W.'s doctors determined that it was medically
necessary to transport W.W. by air ambulance from Bozeman,
Montana to Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. (Doc.
5 at 5.) Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, pursuant to its
preferred provider agreement with Defendants, dispatched
Defendants to provide air ambulance services. (Doc. 5 at 5.)
authorized Defendants to provide the air ambulance services.
Defendants did not specify a price for their services. (Doc.
5 at 5.) Montana law provides that “[w]hen a contract
does not determine the amount of the consideration or the
method by which it is to be ascertained or when it leaves the
amount thereof to the discretion of an interested party, the
consideration must be so much money as the object of the
contract is reasonably worth.” Mont. Code Ann. §
28-2-813 (2017). Further, Montana's covenant of good
faith and fair dealing requires “reasonable commercial
standards of fair dealing in trade.” (Doc. 5 at 7.);
Mont. Code Ann. § 28-1-211.
billed Plaintiffs $109, 590 for one-way transport of W.W.
from Bozeman, Montana to Denver, Colorado, on February 26,
2016. (Doc. 5 at 6.) This total amount reflected a
“base rate” of $15, 965 and a “loaded fixed
wing” charge of $175 per mile. (Doc. 5 at 6.)
Defendants multiplied the “loaded fixed wing”
charge by the 535 miles between Bozeman and Denver. (Doc. 5
insurer paid Defendants $22, 933 of the $109, 590 bill for
the flight. (Doc. 5 at 6.) Defendants sought to collect from
Plaintiffs a balance of $40, 057.38 on December 29, 2016.
(Doc. 5 at 6.) This balance reflects credit for the insurance
payment as well as a reduced “loaded fixed wing”
charge of $81.96 per mile. (Doc. 5 at 6.) Defendants provided
no explanation for the lower rate. (Doc. 5 at 6.)
allege that Defendants breached the contract to provide the
air ambulance services because the charges billed
“exceed reasonable amounts typically charged in
Montana for similar air-ambulance transport and the charges
do not represent the reasonable worth of the services,
rendered, are excessive and violate the covenant of good
faith and fair dealing.” (Doc. 5 at 6.) Plaintiffs seek
“damages in the amount of the balance between a
reasonable charge for services and the actual charges sought
by Defendant.” (Doc. 5 at 8.)
seek to dismiss Plaintiffs' claim on the basis that the
Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (“ADA”) preempts
this type of state law claim. (Doc. 3 at 6.)
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of a complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250
F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In evaluating a 12(b)(6)
motion, the Court “must take all allegations of
material fact as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party.” Kwan v.
Sanmedica Int'l, 854 F.3d 1088, 1096 (9th Cir. 2017)
(quoting Turner v. City and County of San Francisco,
788 F.3d 1206, 1210 (9th Cir. 2015)). To survive a motion to
dismiss, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to state
a plausible claim for relief. Taylor v. Yee, 780
F.3d 928, 935 (9th Cir. 2015).
courts generally view Rule 12(b)(6) dismissals “with
disfavor.” Rennie & Laughlin, Inc. v. Chrysler
Corp., 242 F.3d 208, 213 (9th Cir. 1957). “A case
should be tried on the proofs rather than the
pleadings.” Id. Such dismissals are
“especially disfavored” where the plaintiff bases
the complaint on “a novel legal theory that can best be
assessed after factual development.” McGary v. City
of Portland, 386 F.3d 1259, 1270 (9th Cir. 2004)
(citations omitted). “It is important that new legal
theories be explored and assayed in the light of actual facts
rather than a pleader's suppositions.” Id.
expressly preempts any state law or regulation “related
to a price, route, or service of an air carrier.” 49
U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1); American Airlines Inc. v.
Wolens, 513 U.S. 219, 222 (1995). The ADA also preempts
causes of action that arise under state common law where such
a claim undermines the statute's deregulatory aim.
Northwest, Inc. v Ginsberg, 572 U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct.
1422, 1428-30 ...