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Dengler v. Horace Mann Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 10, 2019

SHEILA DENGLER, AS NEXT FRIEND OF B.P.D., A MINOR BORN IN 2000, Plaintiff,
v.
HORACE MANN INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT

          LESLIE E. KOBAYASBI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On February 22, 2018, this Court issued an Order Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Plaintiff's Counter-Motion for Summary Judgment (“2/22/18 Order”). [Dkt. no. 39.] The Judgment in a Civil Case (“Judgment”) was entered on March 16, 2018. [Dkt. no. 41.] Before the Court is Plaintiff Sheila Dengler's (“Plaintiff”)[1]motion to vacate the 2/22/18 Order and the Judgment (“Motion”), filed on April 5, 2019. [Dkt. no. 48.] Defendant Horace Mann Insurance Company (“Defendant”) filed its statement of no position on April 18, 2019. [Dkt. no. 50.] The Court has considered the Motion as a non-hearing matter pursuant to Rule LR7.2(e) of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (“Local Rules”). Plaintiff's Motion is hereby denied for the reasons set forth below.

         BACKGROUND

         The relevant factual background is set forth in the 2/22/18 Order and will not be repeated here. In the 2/22/18 Order, this Court ruled that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment because the underinsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits in the four motor vehicle insurance policies that Defendant issued to Plaintiff and her husband were not subject to stacking. [2/22/18 Order at 8-9.]

         On March 29, 2018, Plaintiff appealed. [Dkt. no. 42.] Thereafter, the parties participated in the Ninth Circuit's mediation program and ultimately agreed to resolve all claims. [Mem. in Supp. of Motion at 2-3 (citing Motion, Decl. of James T. Leavitt, Jr. (“Leavitt Decl.”) ¶¶ 4-5).] One settlement term allowed Plaintiff to file a motion to vacate the 2/22/18 Order and required Defendant to file a statement of no position. [Leavitt Decl. at ¶ 6.] On April 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's appeal. [Dkt. no. 47.]

         STANDARD

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 60 grants a district court the power to vacate its judgment when appropriate. Rule 60(b) states in pertinent part:

Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or
(6) any other reason that justifies relief.

(Emphasis added.[2])

         In the Ninth Circuit, a district court uses an “equitable balancing test” to evaluate whether to vacate a judgment or order after the parties settle. Am. Games, Inc. v. Trade Prods., Inc., 142 F.3d 1164, 1168 (9th Cir. 1998). This equitable balancing test involves weighing various factors including: “the consequences and attendant hardships of dismissal or refusal to dismiss”; “the competing values of finality of judgment and right to relitigation of unreviewed disputes”; and “the motives of the party whose voluntary action mooted the case.” Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, courts should weigh the relevant public policy considerations. Id. at 1170.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Consequences and ...


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