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Travelers Indemnity Co. v. New Orleans Louisiana Saints, Llc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 1, 2014

THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA SAINTS, LLC., Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 11)

JOSEPHINE L. STATON, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant New Orleans Louisiana Saints, LLC's Motion to Dismiss. (Mot., Doc. 11.) Plaintiff Travelers Indemnity Company opposed, and Defendant replied. (Opp'n, Doc. 14; Reply, Doc. 16). Having read the papers, heard oral argument, and taken the matter under submission, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion. Plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to seeking relief within California's workers' compensation system. The Scheduling Conference set for May 30, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. is VACATED.

I. Background

Plaintiff insured the Kansas City Chiefs for workers' compensation claims. (Compl. ¶ 22, Doc. 1.) Defendant owns and operates the New Orleans Saints. ( Id. ¶ 6.)

On April 1, 1984, First Horizon Insurance Company issued an insurance policy naming the New Orleans Saints Football Club as the named insured. ( Id. ¶ 10, Ex. 1.) The policy, which had an effective period from April 1, 1984 to April 1, 1987, provided that it would "pay promptly when due all compensation and other benefits required of the insured by the workmen's compensation law." ( Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) Plaintiff alleges the First Horizon Policy does not constitute workers' compensation insurance in California. ( Id. ¶¶ 10-19.)

Jim Rourke was a professional football player for the New Orleans Saints from November 2, 1985 to September 2, 1986. ( Id. ¶ 20.) Rourke played for the Kansas City Chiefs at least from October 10, 1986 until November 2, 1986. ( Id. ) Both the Saints and the Chiefs played some of their games in California during this time. ( Id. )

Rourke filed an application for workers' compensation benefits in California based on an alleged workplace injury incurred during his employment with both the Saints and the Chiefs. ( Id. ¶ 21.) Rourke made an election under California Labor Code § 5500.5(c) to have his workers' compensation claim proceed against the Case 8:13-cv-01998-JLS-JPR Document 24 Filed 05/01/14 Page 3 of 11 Page ID #:469 Chiefs only, "due to issues regarding the First Horizon Policy." ( Id. ¶ 22.) On August 5, 2013, Plaintiff settled Rourke's claim for $199, 999 pursuant to an Order Approving Compromise and Release issued by the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board ("WCAB"). ( Id. ¶ 22, Ex. 2.) The WCAB Order stated that it "include[d] joinder on this case of [Defendant]." ( Id. Ex. 2 at 77.)

On December 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed the present action. Plaintiff brings claims for: (1) a declaratory judgment as to whether the First Horizon Policy provides workers' compensation coverage in California; (2) reimbursement under California Labor Code section 5500.5(a) for 96% of the award against Plaintiff in the workers' compensation proceeding; (3) "equitable indemnity" for the same portion of the same award; and (4) "negligence/subrogation" pursuant to California Labor Code sections 5500.5(a) and 3706, against Defendant for Rourke's injuries. ( Id. at 8-11.) Defendant moved to dismiss the claims and the action under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), (3) and (6). (Mot.)

II. Legal Standard

When a motion is made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Tosco Corp. v. Cmtys. for a Better Env't, 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001), abrogated on other grounds by Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77 (2010). "A jurisdictional challenge under Rule 12(b)(1) may be made either on the face of the pleadings or by presenting extrinsic evidence." Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003). In other words, a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) can be facial or factual. See Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). "In a facial attack, the challenger asserts that the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction." Id. "Dismissal for lack of Case 8:13-cv-01998-JLS-JPR Document 24 Filed 05/01/14 Page 4 of 11 Page ID #:470 subject matter jurisdiction is appropriate if the complaint, considered in its entirety, on its face fails to allege facts sufficient to establish subject matter jurisdiction." In re Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) Antitrust Litig., 546 F.3d 981, 984-85 (9th Cir. 2008). "By contrast, in a factual attack, the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction." Meyer, 373 F.3d at 1039. "In resolving a factual attack on jurisdiction, the district court may review evidence beyond the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment." Id.

Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is not proper where a plaintiff has alleged "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 68 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Thus, a complaint must (1) "contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively, " and (2) "plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation." Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).

III. Discussion

The Court first addresses Plaintiff's Labor Code section 5500.5(a) claims and indemnity claim, and finds the claims must be dismissed. The Court then addresses Plaintiff's claim for declaratory ...


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