United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
the Court is Phyllis Mitchell Fernandez's “Motion
to Intervene.” Doc. #139.
M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Relevant Procedural History
April 5, 2016, Great American Life Insurance Company filed an
interpleader complaint in this Court pursuant to Rule 22 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to determine whether Ava
Mitchell Tanner, Alita Margaret Mitchell, Craig J. Cheatham,
or anyone else, is the proper recipient of two annuities
issued to Don Mitchell before his death. Doc. #1. On May 27,
2016, Alita and Craig answered the complaint and Alita
filed a crossclaim against Ava. Doc. #9. In her crossclaim,
Alita alleges that “[w]ithout a legal basis or right,
Ava Mitchell Tanner has interfered with Alita Margaret
Mitchell's right to the annuity death benefits by
submitting a false and scandalous letter to [Great
American]” and “[a]s a result of her malicious
interference, ” Ava “is liable for the damage
Alita Margaret Mitchell has incurred ….”
Id. at ¶¶ 5-6.
9, 2016, Ava answered Great American's complaint and
Alita's crossclaim. Doc. #13; Doc. #14. On June 30, 2016,
Ava filed an amended answer to Alita's crossclaim and
asserted crossclaims of her own against Alita and Craig. Doc.
#24. Ava's crossclaims allege, in part:
Alita Cheatham and Craig Cheatham exerted undue influence
over Don Mitchell to persuade him to disinherit his
daughters, the natural objects of his bounty, and to convey
his assets to them. They used undue influence to convert the
Regions Bank CD $150, 000,
Prudential Life Insurance policy for $186, 000,
Great American Life Insurance annuities for $120, 153.25 and
Oil Interest of unknown value.
Id. at ¶ 41.
August 30, 2016, Phyllis Mitchell Fernandez filed a motion
seeking “leave to intervene as a plaintiff in the cross
claim filed by her sister [Ava] against the current
defendants to the cross claim, Alita Cheatham Mitchell and
Craig Cheatham.” Doc. #43. The Court denied the motion
to intervene because the motion failed to adhere to the local
rules of this Court. Doc. #138. On September 1, 2017, Phyllis
renewed her motion to intervene in Ava's crossclaim of undue
influence as it relates to the Prudential Life Insurance
Policy and a trust which owns some mineral interest. Doc.
#139. On September 14, 2017, Alita and Craig filed a response
to the renewed motion to intervene. Doc. #143. On September
18, 2017, the Court held a telephonic conference regarding
the renewed motion. Doc. #145. Three days later, Phyllis
filed a reply in support of her motion to intervene. Doc.
renewed motion to intervene, Phyllis asserts that she
“was a 50% beneficiary of the Prudential policy before
it was changed;” that she was a beneficiary of a trust
which owns some mineral interest and other assets; and that
“[u]nless [she] is a party to the case, her interest in
these identified properties may be impaired or
impeded.” Doc. #139 at 2. Phyllis contends that she ...