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Naomi Koga-Smith v. Metlife

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAN JOSE DIVISION


November 6, 2012

NAOMI KOGA-SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METLIFE, AKA METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, LISA K. CARTER, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edward M. Chen U.S. District Judge

JOINT CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE STATEMENT ORDER RESETTING CMC

The parties to the above-entitled action jointly submit this JOINT CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT &PROPOSED ORDER pursuant to the Standing Order for All Judges of the Northern District of California dated July 1, 2011 and Civil Local Rule 16-9. 27 28

SF/3188327v1

1. Jurisdiction & Service

2

3 sections 1331, 1332, 1441(a) ,1441(b), and 1441(c). The complaint seeks life insurance benefits 4 that plaintiff claims are owed to her by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company ("MetLife") under 5 the terms of an employee welfare benefit plan, and thereby states a claim only under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. section 1001, et seq.

There are no issues regarding personal jurisdiction or venue. Plaintiff states that all parties have been served. However, Lisa Carter has been served but has not appeared.

The basis for the court's subject matter jurisdiction is pursuant to 28 United States Code

Facts

Plaintiff's Position

Plaintiff, Naomi Koga-Smith, is the surviving spouse of Herbert E. Smith, Jr. Plaintiff, Naomi Koga-Smith and Herbert E. Smith, Jr. were married at the time of the death of Herbert E. 12 Smith, Jr. 13 14 Herbert E. Smith, Jr. died on, or about, February 9, 2102, a resident of Santa Clara County. Prior to his death, plaintiff, Naomi Koga-Smith and Herbert E. Smith, Jr. entered into 15 certain life insurance contracts with defendant, MetLife, aka Metropolitan Life Insurance 16 Company, insuring the life of Herbert E. Smith, Jr. Plaintiff alleges that the life insurance 17 contracts were entered into in Santa Clara County.

benefits payable under Group No. 0118250, Claim No. 21203004448. 20

"Supplemental/Optional Life" policy paid from decedent, Herbert E. Smith, Jr.'s, wages.

The life insurance proceeds due from defendant, MetLife, are commonly described as

The amount of the proceeds payable from defendant, MetLife, are $164,000 from a

"Basic Life" policy paid by decedent, Herbert E. Smith, Jr.'s, employer, and $150,000 from a 22

All premiums paid for the life insurance were from the community funds of Plaintiff,

Naomi Koga-Smith and Herbert E. Smith, Jr. 25

The decedent, Herbert E. Smith Jr. (the "Decedent"), was a participant in a welfare 27 benefit plan (the "Plan") sponsored by his employer. The plan is regulated by the Employee MetLife's Position Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461. Life insurance benefits are payable under the plan as the result of the death of the Decedent. The 2 most recent life insurance beneficiary designation for the Decedent is dated July 28, 2005 (the 3 "July 28, 2005 Beneficiary Designation"). It lists both Naomi Koga-Smith ("Koga-Smith") and 4 Lisa K. Carter as the Decedent's primary co-beneficiaries for life insurance coverage under the 5 Plan. Plaintiff informed MetLife that she claimed she was entitled to all of the proceeds of the 6 7 life insurance policies on the life of her husband, and she later commenced this action. Koga- Smith has recently informed MetLife that she and Lisa K. Carter ("Carter") desire to resolve 9 their claims to Plan benefits and that Carter desires to renounce her interest in the Plan benefits. 10

3. Legal Issues 11

The parties are in the process of preparing an agreement which they believe will result in 12 a resolution of the claims alleged in the complaint and a dismissal of the entire action. 13 Accordingly, the parties have no disputed points of law to identify at this time. 14

4. Motions

There were no prior motions and there are no pending motions.

5. Amendment of Pleadings

The parties are not expected to add claims or defenses.

6. Evidence Preservation

Parties kept files in a safe location.

7. Disclosures

There has been full and timely compliance with the initial disclosure requirements of Fed.R. Civ. P. 26.

8. Discovery 23

There has been no discovery and, in light of the agreement being prepared which will 24 result in the dismissal of the Complaint, there is no anticipated discovery at this time. Should the 25 matter go forward MetLife's position is that discovery will be limited to the administrative 26 record, since this matter is governed by ERISA. 27 28

SF/3188327v1

9. Class Actions

This is not a class action.

10. Related Cases 4

There are no related cases.

11. Relief

Plaintiff's Position

Plaintiff seeks a judicial determination that Naomi Koga-Smith is the sole beneficiary of the $164,000 "Basic Life" policy and of the $150,000 "Supplemental/Optional Life" policy, with defendant, MetLife, commonly described as benefits payable under Group No. 0118250, Claim 9 No. 21203004448. 10

12. MetLife's Position 11

MetLife has no interest in the Plan benefits, except to ascertain that they are paid in 12 accordance with the terms of the Plan, ERISA, and the compromise of Koga-Smith and Carter; 13

13. Settlement and ADR 14

Settlement is likely. The parties are in the process of preparing an agreement which they 15 believe will result in a resolution of the claims alleged in the complaint and a dismissal of the 16 entire action. The parties suggest that there is no need for a case management conference at this 17 time and that the conference presently scheduled may be taken off calendar. 18

14. Consent to Magistrate Judge For All Purposes 19

Not all parties who have appeared have consented to have a magistrate judge conduct all 20 further proceedings including trial and entry of judgment. 21

15. Other References

This case is not suitable for binding arbitration, a special master, or the Judicial Panel on Multi district Litigation. 24

16. Narrowing of Issues

25

There are no issues to narrow at this point. The parties are in the process of preparing an 26 agreement which they believe will result in a resolution of the claims alleged in the complaint 27 and a dismissal of the entire action.

17. Expedited Trial Procedure

This case is not expected to go to trial. The Expedited Trial Procedure of General Order 64, Attachment A, is not necessary.

18. Scheduling 5

No scheduling dates need to be made at this time.

19. Trial

If necessary, the case will be tried to the court.

20. Disclosure of Non-party Interested Entities or Persons

Each party has filed the "Certification of Interested Entities or Persons required by Civil

9

Local Rule 3-16. Naomi Koga-Smith, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Lisa K. Carter 10 are all persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, (including parent corporations) or other entities 11 known by the parties to have either: (i) a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or 12 in a party to the proceeding; or (ii) any other kind of interest that could be substantially affected 13 by the outcome of the proceeding. 14

21. Other 15 16

Lisa Carter currently resides in England. Plaintiff has been in communication with Lisa Carter. Lisa Carter has agreed to cooperate and has verbally indicated that she has no interest in

18

the life insurance proceeds. Lisa Carter is expected to sign off on the agreement being prepared

19

for the resolution of the case.

DATED: November 1, 2012 Sedgwick LLP 21 By: /s/ Rebecca A. Hull 20 22 Rebecca Hull Mark J. Hancock 23 Attorneys for Defendants METLIFE, aka METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE 24 COMPANY 25 DATED: November 1, 2012 JACKSON & EFTING 26 IT IS SO ORDERED that By: /s/ James Efting (as authorized 11/2/12) James Efting 27 the CMC is reset from Attorneys for Plaintiff 11/9/12 to 2/7/13 at 9:00 ES DISTRIC NAOMI KOGA-SMITH 28 a.m.

IT IS SO ORDERED 5

20121106

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