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Lyons v. Advantage Contractors

August 10, 2006

SUSAN LYONS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF STEVEN LYONS, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ADVANTAGE CONTRACTORS, L.L.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terence P. Kemp United States Magistrate Judge

MAGISTRATE JUDGE KEMP

OPINION AND ORDER

This diversity action is before the Court on plaintiff Susan Lyons' motion for summary judgment. This case has been referred to the Magistrate Judge for full disposition under 28 U.S.C. §636(c). This Court notes that defendant Advantage Contractors ("Advantage") failed to respond to this motion. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.

I.

According to the complaint, Steve Lyons, the deceased husband of Susan Lyons, was an Advantage employee. Through Advantage's employee benefits, Mr. Lyons completed an application form for life insurance in the amount of $150,000.00 in January or February 2004, and Advantage subsequently deducted money from Mr. Lyons' paycheck to pay for his life insurance policy. (Complaint at ¶5.) The complaint indicates Advantage represented to Mr. Lyons that he had life insurance, so Mr. Lyons did not attempt to purchase such coverage from some other source.

In May 2004, while still an Advantage employee, Mr. Lyons died as a result of an automobile accident. The sole beneficiary of Mr. Lyons' life insurance policy was Ms. Lyons. When Ms. Lyons attempted to recover under the life insurance policy, Advantage denied coverage, claiming that Mr. Lyons never had a life insurance policy through Advantage.

As administrator of Mr. Lyons' estate, Ms. Lyons sued Advantage claiming negligence and breach of contract for the $150,000.00 life insurance policy. Additionally, Ms. Lyons seeks a declaratory judgment against Advantage "declaring that she is entitled to life insurance coverage in the amount of $150,000.00 under the life insurance policy issued to Steven Lyons through Defendant's group plan ...." (Id. at ¶19.)

After the case was filed, Ms. Lyons sent Advantage a request for admissions, to which Advantage failed to respond. Consequently, Ms. Lyons moved to have the admissions admitted as true, and this Court granted that request. Ms. Lyons now moves for summary judgment.

II.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) provides:

The judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

"[T]his standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)(emphasis in original); Kendall v. The Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir. 1984).

Summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is genuine; "that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The purpose of the procedure is not to resolve factual issues, but to determine if there are genuine issues of fact to be tried. Lashlee v. Sumner, 570 F.2d 107, 111 (6th Cir. 1978). Therefore, summary judgment will be granted "only where the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, where it is quite clear what the truth is,...[and where] no genuine issue remains for trial,...[for] the purpose of the rule is not to cut litigants off from their right of trial by jury if they really have issues to try." Poller v. Columbia Broadcasting Systems, Inc., 368 U.S. 464, 467 (1962); accord, County of Oakland v. City of Berkley, 742 F.2d 289, 297 (6th Cir. 1984).

In making this inquiry, the standard to be applied by the Court mirrors the standard for a directed verdict .Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, ...


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