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Georgia M. Stanback v. Jpmorgan Chase Bank

March 13, 2012

GEORGIA M. STANBACK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mauskopf, United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Plaintiff Georgia Stanback ("plaintiff" or "Stanback") brings this action against defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("defendant" or "CHASE"). She alleges common law claims of promissory estoppel, negligence, and quantum meruit. Currently before this Court is defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

On a motion to dismiss, the Court must "take[] factual allegations [in the complaint] to be true and draw[] all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor." Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71 (2d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). The following facts are either undisputed or described in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Capobianco v. City of N.Y., 422 F.3d 47, 50 n.1 (2d Cir. 2001).

Plaintiff was employed by defendant from 1981 until June 2009, her most recent position being Assistant Vice President of Operations in the Broker-Dealer Department. (Compl. (Doc. No. 1) ¶¶ 3-4.) Since defendant offered employees the option of obtaining group life insurance for themselves, their spouses, and other dependents, plaintiff obtained group life insurance covering herself and her husband, Gentry Stanback ("Gentry"), in the amount of $50,000 each.

(Id. ¶¶ 5-6.) Defendant deducted premiums for this insurance coverage from plaintiff's salary from 1981 through April 2009. (Id.)

In October 2006, plaintiff informed the CHASE Human Resources department that she and her husband had divorced. (Id. ¶ 7.) At that time, she asked that Gentry be removed as the beneficiary of her employee benefit plan, and defendant complied. (Id. ¶¶ 7-8.) The CHASE Human Resources representative advised plaintiff that she "was entitled to maintain the insurance coverage on Gentry, of which plaintiff was the beneficiary, by simply continuing to pay the premiums for it." (Id. ¶ 8.) Relying on this advice, plaintiff continued to pay the premiums for the group life insurance covering her ex-husband through April 2009. (Id. ¶ 9.)

Gentry passed away on March 18, 2009. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff submitted a claim to defendant and to Prudential Insurance Company of America ("Prudential"), the administrator of the insurance plan, in anticipation of collecting $50,000 from the life insurance she maintained. (Id.) In May 2009, defendant and Prudential denied the claim because, under the group life insurance plan, an ex-spouse is not eligible for coverage. (Id. ¶ 12.)

In June 2009, defendant terminated plaintiff's employment "because she made a claim for the death benefit from the group life insurance coverage on Gentry." (Id. ¶ 13.) In September 2009, plaintiff administratively appealed the claim denial. (Id. ¶ 14.) Prudential denied the appeal in December 2009. (Id. ¶ 15.)

Plaintiff commenced the instant action on August 11, 2010, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Queens. (Notice of Removal (Doc. No. 1) ¶ 1.) Defendant removed the action to this Court on September 13, 2010 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). (Id.

¶¶ 3-7.) On March 18, 2011, defendant filed this motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 10).)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires the court to examine the legal, rather than factual, sufficiency of a complaint. As required by Rule 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." To withstand a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

A court considering a 12(b)(6) motion must "take[] factual allegations [in the complaint] to be true and draw[] all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor." Harris, 572 F.3d at 71 (citation omitted). A complaint need not contain "'detailed factual allegations,'" but it must contain "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In other words, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rather, the plaintiff's complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." 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." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The determination of ...


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