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Martens v. Hogan

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 18, 2018

Emmalee Martens, as Personal Representative of the Estate of John Christopher Rooney, Plaintiff,
v.
Amy Karin Hogan (f/k/a Rooney), Defendant.

          Samantha J. Graf, Esq., Johnson/Turner Legal, counsel for Plaintiff.

          Craig T. Dokken, Esq., Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., counsel for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Emmalee Martens (“Martens” or “Plaintiff”) is the personal representative of decedent John Christopher Rooney's (“Rooney”) estate. Before Rooney passed away, he obtained a life insurance policy from Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company (“Anthem”). The defendant, Rooney's ex-wife, was named the beneficiary of the Policy and collected the death benefits from Anthem after Rooney passed away. Plaintiff brings this lawsuit claiming that Defendant was not entitled to the death benefits. This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 3.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court denies the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On May 24, 2007, Defendant Amy Karin Hogan f/k/a Rooney (“Hogan” or “Defendant”) and decedent John Christopher Rooney (“Rooney”) were married. (Doc. No. 1-1, Complaint (“Compl.”) ¶ 6.) While Hogan and Rooney were married, Rooney became the owner of an Anthem Blue Cross Basic Life Insurance Policy in the amount of $90, 000 (the “Policy”). (Compl. ¶ 8.) Rooney named Hogan the sole beneficiary under the Policy. (Doc. No. 6-4 at 4.)

         On January 24, 2012, Hogan and Rooney divorced. (Doc. No. 1-1, Ex. A (the “Divorce Decree”).) The Divorce Decree awarded Rooney exclusive title to and ownership of the Policy. (Divorce Decree at 12.) On December 6, 2016, Rooney passed away. (Compl. ¶ 11.) Rooney never changed the beneficiary designation under the Policy, however, and Hogan remained the sole beneficiary at the time of Rooney's death. (Compl. ¶ 13.) On May 7, 2017, Hogan submitted to Anthem a Beneficiary Claim Form requesting payment for the applicable death benefits under the Policy. (Doc. No. 6, ¶ 6; Doc. No. 6-5.) On May 8, 2017, Anthem issued a check in the amount of $90, 000.00 to Hogan as payment of the applicable death benefits under the Policy. (Doc. No. 6, ¶ 7; Doc. No. 6-6.)

         On May 4, 2017, Martens was appointed Personal Representative of the Estate of the Estate of John Christopher Rooney. (Doc. No. 1-1, Ex. A.) When Martens contacted Anthem to inquire about the Policy, Anthem informed her that Hogan was the sole beneficiary. (Compl. ¶¶ 12-13.)

         On October 30, 2017, Martens filed this suit against Hogan alleging breach of contract, conversion, and unjust enrichment. Hogan now moves to dismiss Martens' claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 3.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court assumes all facts in the complaint to be true and construes all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most favorable to the complainant. Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). In doing so, however, a court need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions drawn by the pleader from the facts alleged, Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). A court deciding a motion to dismiss may consider the complaint, matters of public record, orders, materials embraced by the complaint, and exhibits attached to the complaint. See Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. As the Supreme Court reiterated, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” will not pass muster under Twombly. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...


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