United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammon Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
Mary Pickens filed a state court Complaint [ECF No. 7] on
March 21, 2017, against Defendants New York Life Insurance
Company and AARP Corporation. The case was removed to federal
court [ECF No. 1] on April 25, 2017. The Defendants filed a
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [ECF No. 14] on June 16,
2017. The Plaintiff filed her Opposition [ECF No. 21] on
November 7, 2017. On November 14, 2017, the Defendants filed
their Reply [ECF No. 22] in further support of their Motion.
April 30, 2014, Plaintiff Mary Pickens made an application
for a life insurance policy with Defendants New York Life
Insurance Company (“New York Life”) and AARP
Corporation insuring the life of her brother, Augustus
Williams. A life insurance policy was issued on the life of
Augustus Williams on June 12, 2015 with life insurance
certificate number A7532637 (“Insurance
Certificate”). Def. New York Life Answer, Ex. 1, ECF
No. 12-1. The benefits due under the insurance policy were in
the amount of $25, 000. The beneficiaries under the life
insurance policy were the Plaintiff and Shatasha Plump
Williams died on March 5, 2016. Subsequently, the Plaintiff
filed a claim under the life insurance policy with New York
Life. After several rounds of communication between the
parties, New York Life determined that Augustus Williams
“failed to disclose material information concerning his
medical history.” Based on this determination, New York
Life denied that any payment was owed under the Insurance
Certificate, which New York Life communicated to the
October 26, 2016, New York Life sent Plaintiff and Plump
checks for $419 that included the following language:
“Refund for premiums paid under contract A7532637.
Coverage is hereby rescinded.” Def. New York
Life’s Answer, ¶ 9, Exs. 2 & 3. Plaintiff and
Plump signed and cashed the checks on October 31, 2016 and
April 18, 2017, respectively. Id.
subsequently brought this instant suit against the Defendants
alleging that rescission of the life insurance policy was
unlawful and brought the following claims against the
Defendants: Breach of Contract (Count I); Negligent
Infliction of Emotional Distress (Count II); Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress (Count III); and Violation
of Indiana Deceptive Practices Act and Consumer Protection
Laws (Count IV).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), a party may move for
judgment on the pleadings after the plaintiff has filed a
complaint and the defendant has filed an answer. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). “A motion for judgment on the
pleadings is generally not favored and courts apply a fairly
restrictive standard in ruling on the motion.”
Urbanski v. Tech Data, No. 3:07-cv- 17, 2008 WL
141574, at *10 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 11, 2008) (citing Fox v.
Terra Haute Indep. Broads., Inc., 701 F.Supp. 172, 173
(S.D. Ind. 1988)).
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) is
subject to the same standard of review as a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6). See Buchanan–Moore v. Cty. of
Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009). Therefore,
the complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “‘A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.’” Boucher v. Fin. Sys. of Green Bay,
Inc., 880 F.3d 362, 366 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). When applying this
standard, a Court is to accept all well-pleaded facts as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party. Tobey v. Chibucos, 890 F.3d 634, 646 (7th
Defendants argue that all four of Plaintiff’s claims
fail because the Plaintiff consented to rescission of the
Insurance Certificate. In support of their contention, the
Defendants point to the Plaintiff cashing a check containing
the language: “Refund for premiums paid under contract
A7532637. Coverage is hereby rescinded.” Def. New York
Life’s Answer, ¶ 9, Exs. 2 & 3.
Indiana law, parties may rescind a contract through mutual
agreement to discharge and terminate their rights and
obligations under the contract. Lindenborg v. M&L
Builders &Brokers, Inc., 302 N.E.2d 816,
823 (Ind.Ct.App. 1973). The parties do not need to enter into
an express or written agreement to rescind a contract;
parties’ actions demonstrating an intent to rescind the
contract is sufficient. See Horine v. Greencastle Prod.
Credit Ass’n, 505 N.E.2d 802, 805 (Ind.Ct.App.
1987); Brown v. Young, 110 N.E. 562, 566
(Ind.Ct.App. 1915). “Rescission is a ...