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Primerica Life Insurance Sms Company v. Jill Davila

January 18, 2011

PRIMERICA LIFE INSURANCE SMS COMPANY,
PLAINTIFF IN INTERPLEADER,
v.
JILL DAVILA, MAYCELLE DAVILA, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10,
INCLUSIVE,(DOC. NO. 10) DEFENDANTS IN INTERPLEADER



MOTION TO DISMISS ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S AND RELATED COUNTERCLAIM

This is a Rule 22 interpleader action involving the proceeds of a life insurance policy. Primerica Life Insurance Co. ("Primerica") is the stakeholder of the proceeds, and Jill Davila ("Jill") and Maycelle Davila ("Maycelle") are the claimants of the proceeds. Currently pending before this Court is Maycelle's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. After reviewing the moving papers, the Court will deny Maycelle's motion.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

From the complaint, Jill and her spouse Larry Davila ("Larry") obtained life insurance in 2007. Primerica issued to Jill a life insurance policy ("the Policy") that covered the life of Jill for $150,000 and the life of Larry for $500,000. Jill was the beneficiary of the $500,000 policy on Larry's life. In 2010, Jill and Larry began divorce proceedings.

On March 22, 2010, Primerica received a letter from Jill and Larry which requested that:

(1) the ownership fo the Policy be transferred from Jill to Larry; (2) Larry be named the new primary insured under the Policy; and (3) Primerica delete coverage on Jill's life effective January 2010. On or around the same date, Larry submitted a policy change application to Primerica that: (1) switched the primary insured on the Policy from Jill to Larry; (2) changed the beneficiary of the Policy from Jill to Maycelle (who is Larry's mother); and (3) deleted coverage on Jill's life.

On April 22, 2010, Larry died.

On May 11, 2010, Maycelle completed a claimant statement for the Policy benefits, and also elected to establish a Primerica Estate Account for the proceeds.

On June 12, 2010, Primerica advised Maycelle that her claim for the Policy benefits had been approved. Primerica also advised Maycelle that a Primerica Estate Account had been opened in her name. "Thereafter, the Policy proceeds in the amount of $500,000 plus applicable interest were credited to Maycelle's Primerica Estate Account." Complaint ¶ 13.

On June 15, 2010, Jill's attorney sent a letter to Primerica indicating that Jill had an interest in the Policy proceeds. The letter explained that Jill and Larry were in the process of a divorce, Jill and Larry were prohibited from making changes to the Policy without Court approval, any changes to the Policy that did not benefit Jill or her children were disputed as a violation of court orders, and any distribution of the Policy proceeds were to be held in trust.

As a result of Jill and Maycelle's competing claims, on June 24, 2010, Primerica froze Maycelle's Primerica Estate Account which contained that Policy proceeds. Complaint at ¶ 15.

Primerica has deposited $508,690.68 in the Court's registry, see Court's Docket Minute Entry for October 19, 2010, and seeks an order to determine the proper recipient of the funds.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare Sys., 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Marceau v. Blackfeet Hous. Auth., 540 F.3d 916, 919 (9th Cir. 2008); Vignolo v. Miller, 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). However, the Court is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1056-57 (9th Cir. 2008); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). To "avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009); see Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court draw the reasonable inference ...


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