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Greenspon v. AIG Specialty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 23, 2019

MICHAEL C. GREENSPON, Plaintiff,
v.
AIG SPECIALTY INSURANCE CO F/K/A CHARTIS SPECIALTY INSURANCE CO.; AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP, INC.; PROMMIS SOLUTIONS HOLDING CORP. N/K/A OLD ALABAMA CLOSING COPR.; MCCORRISTON MILLER MUKAI MACKINNON LLP; and DOES 10-30, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR WITHDRAWAL AND VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL

          DERRICK K. WALTSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Michael Greenspon's Motion for Withdrawal and Voluntary Dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2). Dkt. No. 58. The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing, pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d). For the reasons discussed below, Greenspon's Motion is DENIED.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Greenspon's Complaint, originally filed in state court, seeks a declaratory judgment regarding AIG Specialty's insurance coverage obligations with respect to a default judgment entered in Greenspon's favor in a 2014 state-court lawsuit (2014 Lawsuit) against AIG Specialty's insured, Prommis Solutions Holding Corp (PSHC), and Prommis' wholly owned subsidiary, Cal Western. Id., Ex. 1.

         In November 2018, Defendant AIG Specialty, and then-Defendants McCorriston, Miller, Mukai, MacKinnon LLP (M4) and American International Group (AIG), removed this action to this Court. Dkt. No. 1. Greenspon filed a Motion to Remand based on: (1) lack of jurisdiction because of the incomplete diversity of the parties and (2) discretionary considerations, including the existence of duplicative, intertwined state-court matters. Dkt. No. 10. On February 25, 2019, this Court denied Greenspon's Motion for Remand (February 2019 Order), concluding, inter alia, that: (1) Greenspon had not asserted a claim against the sole in-state party, M4, rendering the law firm's presence as a defendant improper and resulting in its exclusion when determining diversity; and (2) Greenspon's pending state-court matters against defendants other than those named here did not relate directly to the declaratory judgment action before this Court, and the only possibly related state-court matter, the 2014 Lawsuit, was no longer pending, having concluded with the entry of default judgment. Dkt. No. 22.

         On March 13, 2019, Greenspon moved in state court to amend the findings of facts and conclusions of law in the previously-concluded 2014 Lawsuit.

         Defendant's Opposition to Motion to Remand, Dkt. No. 45, at 4. The state court promptly denied the motion to amend. Id. at 5. On March 25, 2019, Defendant AIG Specialty, which was not party to the 2014 Lawsuit, initiated a Special Proceeding (2019 Special Proceeding) in state court to set aside the default judgment in the 2014 Lawsuit as it relates to AIG's insured, Cal-Western. Id. Greenspon thereafter counterclaimed against AIG Specialty in the 2019 Special Proceeding asserting some claims similar to those in the declaratory judgment action before this Court. Id. at 6. The state court consolidated the 2014 Lawsuit with the 2019 Special Proceeding (Consolidated State Court Proceeding). Id. at 7.

         On April 18, 2019, Greenspon filed a “Motion to 1) Reconsider Motion to Remand or 2) to Stay Proceedings Pending State Court Action” (Motion). Dkt. Nos. 38, 39. The basis of the motion to reconsider was the newly revived 2014 Lawsuit now consolidated with the 2019 Special Proceeding. Noting that AIG Specialty had sought to intervene in that case, Greenspon argued that AIG Specialty would be litigating in state court anyway and the renewed state-court litigation constituted intertwined litigation that supported remand. Declining to be entangled in Greenspon's efforts to complicate matters before this Court through opportunistic action in state court, this Court denied Greenspon's Motion for Reconsideration or to Stay Proceedings. Dkt. No. 53.

         Then-Defendants M4 and AIG moved for judgment on the pleadings, based in part on this Court's determination in its Order on Remand (Dkt. No. 22) that Greenspon had failed to state a claim against M4. Dkt. Nos. 23, 24. Greenspon did not oppose dismissal of Defendants AIG and M4 but asked that dismissal of both defendants be without prejudice. On May 17, 2019, the Court granted dismissal of the claims against M4 and AIG without prejudice and instructed Greenspon that he could file an amended complaint against either or both parties, if he chose, by June 7, 2019. Dkt. No. 56. Greenspon did not file an amended complaint.

         On June 6, 2019, Greenspon filed the instant Motion to Withdraw and Dismiss Claims without Prejudice (Motion). Dkt. No. 58. In support of the Motion, Greenspon argues that the pending state court proceedings are duplicative of and related to the insurance coverage proceedings in this Court and that AIG Specialty has voluntarily entwined itself in the state-court proceedings. Motion at 4. By his Motion, Greenspon states that he seeks to “simplify redundant proceedings.” Id.

         As of the date of this Order, the state court proceedings are ongoing. The state court has denied AIG Specialty's motion to set aside the 2014 default judgment and AIG Specialty's Complaint in the Special Proceeding for lack of standing. Defendant's Opposition (Opp.), Dkt. No. 66, at 11. Pending in the Consolidated State Court Proceeding are Greenspon's motion for summary judgment on his amended counterclaim and AIG Specialty's Motion to Dismiss Greenspon's counterclaims. Id.

         On July 18, 2019, AIG Specialty filed its opposition to the instant motion. Dkt. No. 66. Greenspon replied. Dkt. No. 67. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the Court elected to decide the matter without a hearing and the previously-scheduled hearing was vacated. Dkt. No. 68.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Where an answer has been served, as in the instant case, Rule 41(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a plaintiff, pursuant to court order, and subject to any terms and conditions the court deems proper, to dismiss an action without prejudice. “A motion for voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(2) is addressed to the district court's sound discretion[.]” Stevedoring Servs. of Am. v. Armilla Int'l B.V., 889 F.2d 919, 921 (9th Cir. 1989). “The purpose of the rule is to permit a plaintiff to dismiss an action without prejudice so long as the defendant will not be prejudiced, or unfairly affected by dismissal.” Id. (citations omitted). Therefore, “[a] district court should grant a motion for voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(2) unless a defendant can show that it will suffer some plain legal prejudice as a result.” Smith v. Lenches, 263 ...


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