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Mathis v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 28, 2019

CHAD E. MATHIS M.D., Plaintiff,
v.
METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE CO. a/k/a METLIFE, SOURCE BROKERAGE, INC., LEE D. MOORE, Defendants.

          ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS

          JAMES R. SWEENEY II, JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Chad E. Mathis, M.D., was insured under Disability Policy No. 6490290 (the “MetLife Policy” or “Policy”) issued by Defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. a/k/a/ MetLife (“MetLife”). Mathis was an orthopedic surgeon who alleges he became disabled in March 2017 and submitted a claim for disability insurance benefits. Following a 90-day elimination period, MetLife paid Mathis benefits until August 2017, when MetLife stopped paying benefits. Mathis alleges he has remained continuously disabled since March 2017. Invoking the court's diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, he sued MetLife for breach of contract and sued MetLife as well as Defendants Source Brokerage, Inc. (“Source Brokerage”), an Indiana insurance broker, and Lee D. Moore, a licensed insurance broker and agent, for negligence in procuring the MetLife Policy.

         Now pending before the court are: (1) MetLife's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 18), (2) Defendant Source Brokerage, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (ECF No. 20), (3) Defendant Lee D. Moore's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Chad E. Mathis, M.D.'s Amended Complaint (ECF No. 31), and (4) Plaintiff's Objections to MetLife's Exhibits Not Attached to the Amended Complaint and Not Referred to and Central to the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 36). MetLife moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), arguing that Mathis has no legally viable claim for negligence, and his negligence claim is time barred and/or barred by the doctrine of contributory negligence. MetLife also maintains that the breach of contract claim is not ripe and is contractually prohibited by the terms of the Policy. Source Brokerage contends that if the Court grants MetLife's motion to dismiss on the grounds asserted, the Court's holding would apply equally to the negligence claims against Source Brokerage. Therefore, Source Brokerage moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. Moore moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint on the grounds that Mathis' only claim against him, his negligence claim, is barred by the doctrine of contributory negligence or by the applicable statute of limitations. Plaintiff's Objections to MetLife's Exhibits urge that MetLife impermissibly relies on documents not referenced in the Amended Complaint and requests that the Court not convert the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment. Having considered the motions, objections, briefs, complaint, and applicable law, the Court finds that the motions to dismiss (ECF Nos. 18, 20, and 31) should be granted and the objections to the exhibits (ECF No. 36) should be overruled in part and sustained in part.

         I. Dismissal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court takes the complaint's factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Orgone Capital III, LLC v. Daubenspeck, 912 F.3d 1039, 1044 (7th Cir. 2019). The court need not “accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         In addition to the allegations in the complaint, on a motion to dismiss, the court may consider “documents that are attached to the complaint, documents that are central to the complaint and are referred to in it, and information that is properly subject to judicial notice.” Williamson v. Curran, 714 F.3d 432, 436 (7th Cir. 2013). “[D]doc-uments attached to a motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if they are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are central to his claim.'” McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 891 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting 188 LLC v. Trinity Indus., Inc., 300 F.3d 730, 735 (7th Cir. 2002)). Thus, the court may consider such a document “without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment.” Id. at 891-92.

         “[I]f a plaintiff pleads facts that show its suit [is] barred . . ., it may plead itself out of court under a Rule 12(b)(6) analysis.” Orgone Capital, 912 F.3d at 1044 (quoting Whirlpool Fin. Corp. v. GN Holdings, Inc., 67 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir. 1995)); Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705 F.3d 603, 609 (7th Cir. 2013) (on a motion to dismiss “district courts are free to consider ‘any facts set forth in the complaint that undermine the plaintiff's claim'”) (quoting Hamilton v. O'Leary, 976 F.2d 341, 343 (7th Cir. 1992)). “When a complaint fails to state a claim for relief, the plaintiff should ordinarily be given an opportunity . . . to amend the complaint to correct the problem if possible.” Bogie, 705 F.3d at 608. Nonetheless, leave to amend need not be given if the amended pleading would be futile. Id.; see also Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

         II. Factual Background

         The Amended Complaint sets forth the following allegations:

         At all relevant times, Mathis has been a board certified orthopaedic surgeon licensed to practice in the State of Alabama and is a citizen of the State of Massachusetts. MetLife is a corporation incorporated in the State of New York with its principal place of business located in New York. Source Brokerage is a corporation incorporated in the State of Indiana with its principal place of business in Indiana. Moore is a licensed insurance broker and agent authorized to sell insurance products including disability insurance. Moore's business office is in Indiana and he is a citizen of the State of Indiana.

         MetLife Disability Income Insurance Policy No. 6490290 AH was sold and delivered to Mathis on November 16, 2006. The Policy provides a $10, 000.00 monthly benefit for a total disability plus a cost of living adjustment. The Policy contains the following relevant language:

         Total Disability or Totally Disabled means that due solely to Impairment caused by Injury or Sickness, You are:

         1. Before the end of the Regular Occupation Period shown on page 3:

a. Prevented from performing the material and substantial duties of Your Regular Occupation;
b. Not Gainfully Employed; and
c. Receiving appropriate care from a Physician who is appropriate to treat the condition causing the ...

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