Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Openiano v. Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 17, 2019

RENATO OPENIANO Plaintiff,
v.
HARTFORD LIFE AND ANNUITY INSURANCE COMPANY, a corporation, formerly known as ITT HARTFORD LIFE AND ANNUITY INSURANCE COMPANY, a corporation; ITT HARTFORD LIFE AND ANNUITY INSURNACE COMPANY, a corporation and DOES 1-100, inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (DOC. NO. 24)

          Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. No. 24.) Plaintiff filed an opposition, (Doc. No. 27), and Defendants filed a reply, (Doc. No. 30). For reasons set forth herein, the Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Renato Openiano (“Plaintiff”) brings this suit against his insurers, Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company and ITT Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company (“Defendants”). In Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff alleges seven causes of action against Defendants: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) violations of Unfair Claim Settlement Practice Act under Cal. Ins. Code 790.03, et seq.; (4) insurance bad faith; (5) unfair competition under Bus. & Prof. Code 7200, et seq.; (6) constructive fraud; and (7) fraud. (See generally Doc. No. 1-2.)[1] Plaintiff first filed his complaint in California Superior Court, but Defendants removed the case to federal court. (Doc. No. 1.) After removing the case to federal court, Defendants filed their Answer and then filed this Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. No. 4; Doc. No. 24-1.)

         Plaintiff's Complaint spans sixty-three pages, excluding exhibits, but the facts of the case can be summarized succinctly as follows. The claims arise from two separate incidents: the first occurred in February 1998 and the second occurred in February 2015.

         A. February 1998 Incident

         On or about February 1997, Plaintiff signed up for and was issued Universal Life Insurance from Defendants (the “Policy”). (Doc. No. 1-2, Ex. A ¶ 12.) The Policy contained a $110, 000 Renewable and Convertible Term Life Insurance Rider and Planned Premium Benefit in addition to a twenty-four (24) month Disability Income Supplement Rider. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) The Disability Income Supplement Rider provided for $1, 450 per month for 24 months for a covered disability. (Id.). In addition, the Policy included policy loan benefits which entitled the insured to a policy loan. (Id.).

         In September 1997, Plaintiff became disabled and consequently made a claim for disability benefits under the Policy in the amount of $1, 450 per month. (Id. ¶ 19.) Defendants paid the first six months in two lumpsum payments of $4, 350. (Id. ¶ 20.) The first lumpsum check, for the period of September 8, 1997 through December 8, 1997, never arrived. (Id. ¶ 22.) Two months later, on February 15, 1998, Plaintiff received a letter that was supposed to contain the check; however, the check was absent. (Id. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff and his wife immediately noticed the missing check and contacted Defendants for a replacement check. (Id.) A check was mailed out to Plaintiff on or about March 12, 1998, in the amount of $4, 727.43. (Id. ¶ 25). The amount was $377.43 more than the disability payment expected. (Id.).

         Plaintiff and his wife did not review the accompanying letter regarding the payment amounts provided for in the check. (Id. ¶ 26.) The letter that accompanied this check, which Plaintiff attached to his Complaint as Exhibit B, plainly stated that it “represents $4, 350.00 for the three month disability period from December 8, 1997 to March 8, 1998 and $377.43 for the waiver of the planned premium benefit for the premiums due January 10, 1998 through March 10, 1998.” (Id., Ex. B.) It was not until sometime in the Summer of 2015 that Plaintiff realized that the payment received around March 12, 1998, was actually the payment for the next installment of the disability income in addition to a premium reimbursement under the Waiver for Planned Premium Benefit-not the replacement of the first lumpsum covering September 1997 through December 1997. (See Id. ¶ 28.) Thus, Plaintiff never received his lumpsum disability payment covering the three month disability period of September 1997 through December 1997. (Id.)

         B. February 2015 Incident

         Sometime in February 2015, Plaintiff obtained a policy loan from Defendants in the amount of $2, 242. (Id. ¶ 30.) The loan check was dated February 13, 2015. (Id.) Plaintiff was alerted that the policy loan check bounced on February 26, 2015, causing a $20 bounced check fee in addition to the absent loan amount. (Id. ¶ 119.) A March 11, 2015 letter explained that two checks had accidently been sent to Plaintiff and that one of the checks incurred a stop order to remedy two checks being sent to Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 4, Ex. C at 15.) However, Plaintiff contends that he only received one check in February 2015, and when he attempted to deposit the check it had been stopped. (Doc. No. 4, Ex. A ¶¶ 30, 55.) Plaintiff did not receive the $2, 242 loan amount until June 8, 2015. (Id.) The replacement check did not include the $20 bounced check fee incurred by Plaintiff. (See Id. ¶ 119.)

         Because the Plaintiff was aggravated by the bounced check “ordeal, ” Plaintiff began to scrutinize all documents and communications between Plaintiff and Defendant dating back to the beginning of their contractual relationship. (Id. ¶ 45.) A few months after the February 2015 incident, Plaintiff discovered the $4, 727.43 check was not actually a replacement check and that he never received the $4, 350 owed for the period of September 1997 through December 1997. (Id. ¶ 46.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) provides, in relevant part, that “after the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” As courts of this Circuit have recognized, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(2) “specifically authorizes” a moving party to use a motion for judgment on the pleadings “to raise the defense of failure to state a claim, even after an answer has been filed.” Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1093 (9th Cir. 1980) (affirming dismissal of action pursuant to Rule 12(c)). In deciding a Rule 12(c) motion, courts apply the same standard of reviews as with a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Martorello v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 2009 WL 1227011, at *3-4 (N.D. Cal. May 1, 2009) (citing McGlinchy v. Shell Chem. Co., 845 F.2d 802, 810 (9th Cir. 1988)). Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the pleadings, and allows a court to dismiss a complaint upon a finding that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See Novarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). As a result, a “[j]udgment on ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.