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Riley v. Unified Caring Association

United States District Court, D. Wyoming

December 19, 2014

PATRICIA RILEY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIFIED CARING ASSOCIATION, a Missouri corporation, UNITED STATES FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, d/b/a FAIRMONT SPECIALITY, a Delaware corporation, HEALTH OPTION ONE, INC., a Florida corporation, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT HEALTH OPTION ONE, INC.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS UNIFIED CARING ASSOCIATION'S AND UNITED STATES FORE INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ALAN B. JOHNSON, District Judge.

The following have come before the Court for consideration: Defendant Health Option One, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment and Request for Hearing (Doc. No. 69) and Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 87); Defendant Health Option One, Inc.'s Objection to Plaintiff's Evidence Submitted in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 89), and Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 91); and Defendants Unified Caring Association's and United States Fire Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment and Request for Hearing (Doc. No. 97), and Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 102). After reviewing the parties' submissions, the arguments of counsel at the hearing held on November 14, 2014, the applicable law, and being fully advised, the Court finds that Defendant Health Option One, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 69) should be GRANTED and that Defendants Unified Caring Association's and United States Fire Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 87) should be GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On August 16, 2013, Plaintiff Patricia Riley filed a Complaint alleging a breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, and a claim for statutory attorney's fees against Unified Caring Association (UCA) and United States Fire Insurance Company (USFIC). Doc. No. 1. On September 17, 2013, Defendant UCA filed an Answer generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 12. On September 18, 2013, Defendant USFIC filed an Answer generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 13.

On February 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for joinder of a necessary defendant. Doc. No. 24. Plaintiff sought to join Health Option One, Inc. (HOO). Id. Plaintiff's motion was granted. Doc. No. 25. On February 26, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint adding HOO as a defendant and alleged a breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, and a claim for statutory attorney's fees against Defendants UCA, USFIC, and HOO. Doc. No. 26. On March 6, 2014, both Defendant UCA and Defendant USFIC filed an Answer generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Docs. No. 27, 28. On April 23, 2014, Defendant HOO filed an Answer generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 35.

Defendant HOO filed a motion for summary judgment on July 9, 2014. Doc. No. 69. On July 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed a "Rule 56(D) Motion to Deny Defendant Health Option One, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion for Sanctions." Doc. No. 71. Plaintiff asked the Court to deny Defendant HOO's motion for summary judgment as premature and to award attorney's fees. Id. Defendant HOO filed an opposition to the motion, and Plaintiff filed a reply. Docs. No. 73, 74. On September 3, 2014, this Court denied Plaintiff's motion. Doc. No. 81. On September 15, 2014, Plaintiff responded to Defendant HOO's motion. Doc. No. 87. Defendant HOO then filed an "Objection to Plaintiff's Evidence Submitted in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment." Doc. No. 89. Plaintiff responded to that objection on October 1, 2014. Doc. No. 91.

On October 3, 2014, Defendants UCA and USFIC filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. No. 97. Plaintiff responded to that motion on October 15, 2014. Doc. No. 102.

On October 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint and Jury Demand." Doc. No. 108. Plaintiff concedes that her claims for the breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and statutory attorney's fees do not lie against Defendants HOO or UCA. Id. Plaintiff sought to amend her Complaint to plead fraud with more particularity against all Defendants. Id. Defendants responded to Plaintiff's motion on November 3, 2014. Docs. No. 111, 112. Plaintiff filed replies to the responses on November 6, 2014. Docs. No. 114, 115. Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint was denied. Doc. No. 116.

A hearing was held regarding the motions for summary judgment on November 14, 2014. Following the hearing, the Court took the motions under advisement. The Court finds that these matters are fully briefed and are ripe for disposition.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate where "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute of fact is genuine if a reasonable juror could resolve the disputed fact in favor of either side. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is material if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998). When the Court considers the evidence presented by the parties, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the non-movant's favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

The party moving for summary judgment has the burden of establishing the nonexistence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Lynch v. Barrett, 703 F.3d 1153, 1158 (10th Cir. 2013). The moving party can satisfy this burden by either (1) offering affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim, or (2) demonstrating that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to establish an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B).

Once the moving party satisfies this initial burden, the nonmoving party must support its contention that a genuine dispute of material fact exists either by (1) citing to particular materials in the record, or (2) showing that the materials cited by the moving party do not establish the absence of a genuine dispute. See id. The nonmoving party must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus, v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, to survive a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party must "make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of [every] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Further, when opposing summary judgment, the nonmoving party cannot rest on allegations or denials in the pleadings but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial. See Travis v. Park City Mun. Corp., 565 F.3d 1252, 1258 (10th Cir. 2009).

When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court's role is not to weigh the evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but rather to determine whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. Credibility ...


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