United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
ELIZABETH L. STRICKLAND, et al., PLAINTIFFS
AMY ALYECE BROOME, et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
reasons below, the Court grants Defendant
USAA's Motion to Dismiss . Plaintiffs' claims of
breach of fiduciary duty and constructive trust against USAA
are dismissed with prejudice.
case involves a dispute over life insurance proceeds. In
October 2002, Steve Broome and Plaintiff Elizabeth Strickland
got divorced. The Final Judgment of Divorce incorporated the
terms of a property settlement. Exhibit A to Amended
Complaint at 2, Strickland v. Broome, No.
2:16-CV-124-KS-MTP (S.D.Miss. June 21, 2017), ECF No. 31-1.
The property settlement provided: “Each party shall
maintain the same amount of life insurance and keep the
beneficiary the same.” Id. at 9. Plaintiff
alleges that, at the time of the divorce, Steve Broome had a
life insurance policy in the amount of $400, 000 with
Plaintiff Strickland as the named beneficiary, and Strickland
had a life insurance policy in the amount of $400, 000 with
Plaintiff Elizabeth Lance Broome Revocable Trust as the named
to Plaintiffs, the divorce court held a contempt hearing in
February 2004 to address Broome's failure to maintain the
life insurance, among other things. But in July 2004, Broome
requested that the primary beneficiary on his life insurance
policy issued by Defendant USAA be changed from Defendant Amy
Alyece Broome to the Plaintiff Trust, and USAA complied.
Exhibit C to Amended Complaint at 25, 34-38, Strickland
v. Broome, No. 2:16-CV-124-KS-MTP (S.D.Miss. June 21,
2017), ECF No. 31-3.
Broome died in August 2013. In September 2013, USAA paid the
life insurance policy proceeds to Amy Broome, less an amount
Steve Broome had assigned to a creditor.
point between July 2004 and June 2009, the primary
beneficiary on the policy had apparently changed. According
to USAA records, Amy Broome was the primary beneficiary as of
June 25, 2009, and at the time of Steve Broome's death.
Id. at 55. The record contains no evidence as to how
the change of beneficiary occurred, and Plaintiffs allege
both that Steve Broome never changed the beneficiary, and
that he was induced to do so by Amy Broome. Amended Complaint
at 4-6, Strickland v. Broome, No. 2:16-CV-124-KS-MTP
(S.D.Miss. June 21, 2017), ECF No. 31.
filed their Complaint in this Court on August 15, 2016,
asserting claims against Amy Broome. On June 21, 2017, they
filed an Amended Complaint, also asserting claims against
USAA. USAA filed a Motion to Dismiss , which the Court
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC v. La.
State, 624 F.3d 201, 210 (5th Cir. 2010) (punctuation
omitted). “To be plausible, the complaint's factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Id. (punctuation
omitted). The Court must “accept all well-pleaded facts
as true and construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Id. But the Court
will not accept as true “conclusory allegations,
unwarranted factual inferences, or legal conclusions.”
Id. Likewise, “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.” PSKS,
Inc. v. Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc., 615 F.3d
412, 417 (5th Cir. 2010) (punctuation omitted). “While
legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint,
they must be supported by factual allegations.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1950, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
argues that Plaintiffs' breach of fiduciary duty claim
must be dismissed because it owes no fiduciary duty to
Plaintiffs. In response, Plaintiffs argue that insurers may,
in fact, owe fiduciary duties to their insureds.
state a claim for breach of fiduciary duty, a plaintiff must
show the existence of a fiduciary duty, and that the
defendant breached such duty. Lowery v. Guaranty Bank
& Trust Co., 592 So.2d 79, 83 (Miss. 1991).
“[U]nder Mississippi law, there is no fiduciary
relationship or duty between an insurance company and its
insured in a first- party insurance contract.”
Booker v. Am. Gen. Life & Accident Ins. Co., 257
F.Supp.2d 850, 856 (S.D.Miss. ...