United States District Court, E.D. California
YEGENIY V. SIDOROV, in his individual capacity and as Administrator of the Estate of NATALYA N. NATALYA, Plaintiff,
TRANSAMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, TRANSAMERICA OCCIDENTAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.
Yegeniy V. Sidorov brings this case against Transamerica Life
Insurance Company (“Transamerica”) for its
alleged misconduct in connection with a life insurance policy
it issued on the life of his mother before she was murdered
by his step-father. See Compl., ECF No. 1. Sidorov
proceeds in his individual capacity and as the administrator
of the estate of his mother. Id. Before the court is
Transamerica's motion to dismiss the complaint. Mot. to
Dismiss (“MTD”), ECF No. 7. Sidorov has not filed
an opposition to the motion, but separately moves to amend
the complaint, Mot. to Am. (“MTA”), ECF No. 14,
which Transamerica opposes. After holding hearings on the
motions, and for the reasons discussed below, the court
GRANTS the motion to dismiss and GRANTS the request for leave
to amend the complaint.
Life Insurance Company is the successor-in-interest to
Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company, both of which
are defendants here. Compl. ¶ 4. Sidorov is the only
child and son of Natalya N. Sidorova, the decedent whose life
Transamerica insured. Compl. ¶ 3.
January 22, 2010, Natalya's husband, Gerald Schultz, murdered
her at a resort hotel in Acapulco de Juarez, Mexico with the
help of an accomplice. Id. ¶ 13. Soon after,
law enforcement captured Schultz and his accomplice, and they
have both been held in a Mexican prison for over six
years. Id. ¶¶ 13-14.
before, Schultz purchased six life insurance policies on
Natalya's life, including one from Transamerica for $2
million in 2003, each time listing Schultz as the primary
beneficiary. Id. ¶¶ 5-9; id. Ex.
A (“Transamerica Policy”). Sidorov alleges
Transamerica knew or should have known that his mother was
over-insured at the time it issued its policy. Id.
2007, Transamerica began processing a claim Schultz submitted
for Natalya's death. Id. ¶ 11. After
Schultz then notified Transamerica that Natalya was not
deceased, verbally explaining she had “recovered,
” Transamerica closed the pending claim and reinstated
the policy. Id. Ex. B. Sidorov alleges Transamerica
failed to engage in any investigation of the fraudulent claim
or otherwise report it to the California Department of
Insurance. Id. ¶ 12.
27, 2014, Sidorov opened a case in Probate Court for the
Sacramento County Superior Court of the State of California,
and he was named the administrator of his mother's
estate. Id. ¶ 17. On July 29, 2014, after an
evidentiary hearing, the probate court determined that
Schultz could not share in the assets of the estate under
California's “Slayer Statute.” Id.
¶ 19. Transamerica removed the case to this court,
deposited interpleader funds in the amount of $2, 236, 327.30
with the clerk, and ceased paying interest on the death
benefits it owed under the policy. Id. ¶¶
25-26; see No. 2:14-CV-02183-JAM-KJN (filed on
September 26, 2014). On December 3, 2014, the court remanded
the case and transferred the funds back to the probate court.
Id. ¶ 28. In 2015, the probate court ordered
Transamerica to pay Sidorov the Policy amount, including
interest. Id. ¶ 30.
December 30, 2016, Sidorov filed the complaint in this case.
Sidorov brings the following claims against Transamerica,
each in his individual capacity and in his capacity as the
administrator for his mother's estate: (1) Declaratory
Relief; (2) Breach of Contract; (3) Breach of the Implied
Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; (4) Negligence; and
(5) Wrongful Death. Compl. ¶¶ 31-62.
February 28, 2017, Transamerica filed the pending motion to
dismiss. MTD. The court adopted the parties' stipulation
to set March 31 as the extended deadline for Sidorov's
opposition. Min. Order, ECF No. 13. On April 14, after
Sidorov had not filed any opposition to the motion to
dismiss, the court issued an order to show cause asking why
Sidorov's non-opposition should not be deemed a waiver of
any opposition to the granting of the motion. First Order to
Show Cause (“OSC”), ECF No. 18. Sidorov timely
filed a response to the court's order. Req. for Relief,
ECF No. 21.
April 7, 2017, Sidorov filed his motion to amend the
complaint. Transamerica timely filed its opposition.
Opp'n MTA, ECF No. 20. On May 1, Sidorov filed an
untimely reply, providing for the first time a proposed
amended complaint. Reply MTA, ECF No. 23; id. Ex. A
(Proposed First Am. Compl.).
court held a hearing on both motions on May 5, 2017, at which
William Palmer appeared for Sidorov and Sandra Weishart
appeared for Transamerica. May 5, 2017 Hr'g Mins., ECF
No. 24. At hearing, the court granted the parties leave to
file supplemental briefing regarding the futility of
amendment. Id. On May 19, 2017, Sidorov filed a
sur-reply, Sur-Reply, ECF No. 26, and Transamerica filed a
response, Resp., ECF No. 27. The court also continued oral
argument on the motion to amend. June 30, 2017 Hr'g
Mins., ECF No. 30. At that second hearing, the court took
both matters under submission. Id.
MOTION TO DISMISS ...