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Daniel Narducci v. Aegon Usa

December 15, 2010

DANIEL NARDUCCI
PLAINTIFF,
v.
AEGON USA, INC., LIFE INSURANCE:
COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA,:
CIGNA GROUP INSURANCE INC., AND: JOHN DOE, 1-5, NAME BEING: FICTITOUS AND UNKNOWN DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis M. Cavanaugh, U.S.D.J.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Hon. Dennis M. Cavanaugh

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court upon motion by AEGON USA, LLC *fn1 ("AEGON") to dismiss the Complaint and by Life Insurance Company of North America*fn2 ("LINA") to dismiss the Complaint in part pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). AEGON and LINA also move to strike the jury demand pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78, no oral argument was heard. After considering the submissions of all parties, it is the decision of this Court for the reasons herein expressed that Defendants' motions to dismiss and to strike the jury demand are granted.

I. Background*fn3

Plaintiff Daniel Narducci ("Plaintiff") was an employee of Monumental Life Insurance.

Through his employment, Plaintiff was offered Long-Term Disability ("LTD") coverage. AEGON served as the plan administrator of the LTD plan. LINA, a CIGNA Insurance Company ("CIGNA"), served as the claims administrator.

In June of 2006, Plaintiff became disabled by manifestations of his arteriovenous malformation condition. Plaintiff was unable to walk properly or without assistance, and was unable to carry out his duties as sales manager. From June 2006 until September 2008, Plaintiff received disability benefits under the LTD plan. In September 2008, Plaintiff's benefits were terminated. Plaintiff alleges that LINA and CIGNA unilaterally, and wrongfully, terminated his benefits based on their determination that he was no longer disabled.

In January 2010, Plaintiff filed suit in New Jersey Superior Court against AEGON, LINA, and CIGNA (collectively "Defendants") alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA") §502(a). Plaintiff is seeking an order directing immediate and permanent reinstatement of his disability benefits, attorney's fees, statutory interest, and other costs. Plaintiff is also seeking an assessment of civil penalties under §502(c) of ERISA for Defendants' alleged failure to provide Plaintiff with plan documents.

AEGON removed the case to federal court. AEGON and LINA subsequently filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to dismiss in part, respectively, as well as motions to strike the jury demand. These motions are unopposed.

II. Legal Standard

A. Rule 12(b)(6)

In deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the district court is "required to accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all inferences in the facts alleged in the light most favorable to the [Plaintiff]." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008). "[A] complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the Plaintiff's "obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. "[A court is] not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Instead, assuming that the factual allegations in the complaint are true, those "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. 550 U.S. at 555.

In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the district court may consider "the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim." Lum v. Bank of America, 361 F.3d 217, 222 n.3 (3d Cir. 2004). If a document is "'integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint'" it forms the basis of a claim. Id. (citing In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir.1997)). "The purpose of this rule is to avoid the situation where a plaintiff with a legally deficient claim that is based on a particular document can avoid dismissal of that claim by failing to attach the relied upon document." Id. By relying on the document to form the basis of a claim, "the plaintiff is on notice that the ...


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