United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
C. NUGENT United Stales District Judge.
matter is before the Court upon Defendant's, Metropolitan
Life Insurance Company's (hereafter "MetLife"),
Motion to Dismiss Count Two of Plaintiffs Complaint pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF #9).
Plaintiff, Eunice Wertheim (hereafter "Ms.
Wertheim"), filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss
(ECF #14), and MetLife filed a Reply brief. (ECF #15). After
careful consideration of the briefs and all relevant
authority, MetLife's Motion to Dismiss Count Two of
Plaintiffs Complaint is GRANTED.
Wertheim is the surviving spouse and designated beneficiary
of Richard A. Wertheim (the "Decedent"). (ECF #1,
¶ 3). On November 27, 2015, the Decedent sustained a
head injury which caused paralysis and a subdural hematoma.
(Id. at ¶¶ 12 and 14). The Decedent died
as a result of these injuries on December 5, 2015.
Decedent was a federal employee working for the Internal
Revenue Service at the time of his death, and was covered for
life insurance benefits under the Federal Employees Group
Life Insurance Program (hereafter "FEGLI").
(Id. at ¶¶ 12 and 61). Claims for FEGLI
benefits are submitted to the Office of the Federal Employees
Benefit Group Life Insurance ("OFEGLI"), which is
''an office of MetLife." (Id. at ¶
7). On January 4, 2016, MetLife was notified of the
Decedent's passing. (Id. at ¶ 21).
time of filing the Complaint, MetLife had not fully paid the
benefits available to Plaintiff pursuant to Mr.
Werthemr's FEGLI Contract (hereafter the
"Contract"). (See ECF #9, p.4 and Ex. A). Plaintiff
alleged in the Complaint Breach of Contract (Count One)
against all Defendants and Bad Faith (Count Two) against
asks this Court to dismiss Count Two of the Complaint.
Standard of Review
considering a motion to dismiss brought under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), this Court must accept all material allegations
contained in the complaint as true, and construe them in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. Top Flight
Ent., Ltd. v. Schuette, 729 F.3d 623, 630 (6th Cir.
2013); Bishop v. Lucent Technologies, Inc., 520 F.3d
516, 519 (6th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, a
"complaint must contain either direct or inferential
allegations with respect to all material elements necessary
to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory."
Mezibov v. Allen, 411 F.3d 712, 716 (6th Cir. 2005).
Conclusory allegations or legal conclusions cloaked as
factual allegations will not suffice to survive a motion to
complaint containing a statement of facts that merely creates
a suspicion of a legally cognizable right of action is
insufficient; "[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level."
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965
(2007); see also Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v.
City of Cleveland, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007). A
complaint must be facially plausible, containing
"sufficient factual matter ... to 'state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Dismissal of Count Two
argues that the bad faith claim should be dismissed because
it is preempted by federal law. Section 8709(d)(1) of the
Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act
("FEGLIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 8701 et seq., provides
that the provision of the insurance Contract "shall
supercede and preempt any law of any state ... which relates
to group life insurance to the extent that the law or
regulation is inconsistent with the contractual
Contract also contains a preemption clause, which provides
that "the Act, Regulations, and this Contract supercede
and preempt any law or regulation of any State which relates
to the provision and administration of group life
insurance." (ECF #8-1, Sec. 1.3(d)). Other relevant
language within the Contract limits the damages, fees and
other monies recoverable in any lawsuit involving the FEGLI
program. Specifically, Section 1.17 of the Contract states
that "the claimant will be limited in the amount of
recovery to the benefit that would be payable" under the
program, and that "no extra-contractual, punitive,
compensatory, consequential damages, or attorney's fees
shall be recoverable under the FEGLI ...