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Tonguette v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

April 29, 2013

DIANE TONGUETTE, Plaintiff,
v.
SUN LIFE AND HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY (U.S.), et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

GREGORY L. FROST, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court for consideration of the following filings:

(1) a motion to dismiss filed by LoBue Associates Inc. Health & Welfare Plan and LoBue Associates, Inc. ("the LoBue Defendants") (ECF No. 24);

(2) a motion to dismiss filed by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) ("Sun Life") (ECF No. 26);

(3) a combined memorandum in opposition to both motions filed by Plaintiff, Diane Tonguette (ECF No. 29);

(4) a reply memorandum filed by the LoBue Defendants (ECF No. 34);

(5) a reply memorandum filed by Sun Life (ECF No. 35); and

(6) a motion for leave to file a surreply instanter filed by Tonguette (ECF No. 36).

For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the motion for leave to file a surreply instanter (ECF No. 36), GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the LoBue Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 24), and GRANTS Sun Life's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 26).

I. Background

According to the First Amended Complaint, Del Tonguette began working for LoBue Associates, Inc. in August 2009. He was a participant in the company's life insurance benefits plan, which provided him with a life insurance policy. Del Tonguette named Plaintiff, Diane Tonguette ("Tonguette"), the policy beneficiary. In October 2009, Del Tonguette's employment with LoBue Associates, Inc. ended. Under the plan, Del Tonguette was able to convert his group life insurance coverage into an individual life insurance policy within a 31-day conversion period. The policy provides that if Sun Life or LoBue Associates, Inc. failed to provide a former employee such as Del Tonguette with notice of this right to convert, then the conversion period was extended for an additional 15 days after notice was given up to 60 days after the expiration of the initial conversion period. Additionally, the policy provided that if a participant were to die during the conversion period, a claim could be made for the death benefit even if the participant had not applied for a conversion policy. Allegedly, neither Sun Life nor the LoBue Defendants gave Del Tonguette notice of his right to convert his life insurance coverage. Del Tonguette then died during the extended conversion period, and Defendants denied Tonguette's subsequent claim for death benefits.

On January 4, 2012, Tonguette filed the instant action. Via an amended complaint, she asserts nine claims, which are described below, in an attempt to recover benefits and to obtain other relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and under Ohio. Nevada, and Rhode Island state law. (ECF No. 23.) Both Sun Life and the LoBue Defendants have filed motions to dismiss some of these claims. (ECF Nos. 24, 26.) As a result of that briefing, Tonguette has filed a motion for leave to file a surreply instanter. (ECF No. 36.) The parties have completed briefing on the motions, which are ripe for disposition.

II. Motion for Leave to File a Surreply Instanter

Following the filing of the LoBue Defendants' reply memorandum (ECF No. 34), Tonguette filed a motion for leave to file a surreply instanter (ECF No. 36). The LoBue Defendants failed to file a memorandum in opposition to this motion. This Court's Local Civil Rules provide that "[f]ailure to file a memorandum in opposition may be cause for the Court to grant any Motion, other than one which would result directly in entry of final judgment or an award of attorney fees." S.D. Ohio Civ. R. 7.2(a)(2). ...


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