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Taylor v. United States Office Of Personnel Management

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

June 10, 2015

SCARLETT A. TAYLOR, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Susan Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION.

Plaintiffs Scarlett Taylor and Chanel Taylor (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) commenced this action to recover life insurance benefits related to the death of James Taylor, Scarlett Taylor’s ex-husband and Chanel Taylor’s father. Plaintiffs contend that after James Taylor’s death, Defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (“MetLife”) erroneously paid the insurance benefits to Elisa Taylor, James Taylor’s then-wife, instead of to Scarlett Taylor and/or Chanel Taylor.

MetLife moves for summary judgment against Plaintiffs as to all counts of the Complaint. See ECF No. 58. The court grants MetLife’s motion.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

Scarlett Taylor was married to James Taylor until their divorce on April 3, 1995. See ECF No. 61, PageID # 1063. Scarlett Taylor and James Taylor had one child, Chanel Taylor, born on February 28, 1987. See ECF No. 61, PageID # 1064. Pursuant to the terms of the “Decree Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody, ” (the “Decree”), James Taylor was required to maintain “a life insurance policy on his life in the face amount of not less than $45, 000.00 naming [Chanel Taylor] as the only beneficiary thereunder.” See ECF No. 58-4, PageID # 662.

James Taylor was a federal employee, insured under a group life insurance policy issued to the United States Civil Service Commission by MetLife pursuant to the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Act. See ECF No. 58-3, PageID # 633.

James Taylor died on January 1, 1997. See ECF No. 1, PageID # 7. Plaintiffs allege that MetLife paid James Taylor’s life insurance benefits to Elisa Taylor, his then-wife, on January 2, 1997. See ECF No. 62, PageID # 1320. MetLife asserts that it paid James Taylor’s life insurance benefits to Elisa Taylor in February 1997. See ECF No. 58-2, PageID # 630.

MetLife paid the benefits to Elisa Taylor pursuant to a “Designation of Beneficiary” form, naming Elisa Taylor as the sole beneficiary of James Taylor’s life insurance benefits. See ECF No. 58-1, PageID # 625; ECF No. 61-1, PageID # 1222. The “Designation of Beneficiary” form was executed on December 14, 1996. See ECF No. 61-1, PageID # 1222. Plaintiffs allege that James Taylor’s signature on the“Designation of Beneficiary” form was forged. See ECF No. 62, PageID # 1320.

On March 4, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in this court against various Federal Defendants and MetLife. See ECF No. 1. On January 2, 2015, this court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims against the Federal Defendants. See ECF No. 45. Dismissal was based on Plaintiffs’ failure to exhaust administrative remedies against the Federal Defendants before filing suit in this court.

MetLife now seeks summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ claims against it.

On May 26, 2015, Plaintiffs filed “Plaintiff’s 2nd Opposition to Motion for Summary and Response to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Closing Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment Filed May 18, 2015.” See ECF No. 75. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.4, “[n]o further or supplemental briefing shall be submitted without leave of court.” Taylor’s second opposition was filed without leave of court, and was therefore improper. However, even if this court considers it, the court reaches the same result on MetLife’s motion.

III. STANDARD.

Summary judgment shall be granted when “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Addisu v. Fred Meyer, Inc., 198 F.3d 1130, 1134 (9th Cir. 2000). The movant must support his or her position that a material fact is or is not genuinely disputed by either “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for the purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” or “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). One of the principal purposes of summary judgment is to identify and dispose of factually unsupported claims and defenses. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment must be granted against a party that fails to demonstrate facts to establish what will be an essential element at trial. See id. at ...


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