United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CARLTON W. REEVES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Hartford Life and Accident Insurance
Company's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Alexander
Williams' Amended Complaint. For the reasons that follow,
the Court finds that Williams' claims are time-barred
based on the terms of his insurance policy with Hartford.
Hartford's Motion is granted.
Factual and Procedural History
suffers from numerous physical illnesses. As an employee of
Flowers Foods, he participated in a group long-term
disability (“LTD”) policy issued by Hartford. Due
to his illnesses, Williams stopped working on December 14,
2011. He filed a claim with Hartford and received short-term
disability benefits through December 23, 2012. Hartford
terminated his LTD claim on November 10, 2014, and denied
Williams' appeal on May 12, 2015.
waited until October 20, 2017, to file this action in Hinds
County Circuit Court. He sought to recover disability
benefits under the terms of his LTD policy.
later, Hartford properly removed the suit to this Court,
pursuant to federal question jurisdiction. On Hartford's
motion, the Court dismissed Williams' state law claims on
the basis that they were preempted by the Employment
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §
1001, et seq., and directed Williams to submit an
now seeks dismissal of Williams' Amended Complaint,
arguing that the suit is time-barred.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of an
action that fails “to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court accepts all
factual allegations as true and makes all reasonable
inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff's
complaint “must contain a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Id. at 677-78 (quotation marks and
citation omitted). The plaintiff's claims need not
include “detailed factual allegations, ” but the
complaint must contain “more than an unadorned, the
Id. at 678 (quotation marks and citation omitted).
The plaintiff must also plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “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.” Hale v. King, 642
F.3d 492, 499 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678).
argues that Williams' suit is time-barred by the LTD
policy's limitations period. Because ERISA does not
specify a limitations period, the policy terms govern when a
plaintiff can bring a lawsuit for benefits. The period is
enforceable “as long as [it] is reasonable.”
Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 571
U.S. 99, 106 (2013).
the policy provides for a three-year limitations period,
which starts to run at the time proof of loss is due. Proof
of loss is due “within 90 days following the completion
of the Elimination Period.” Williams received
short-term disability benefits through December 23, 2012,
which marked the end of the elimination period. The policy
defines “elimination period” as “the longer
of the number of consecutive days at the beginning of any one
period of Disability which must elapse before benefits are
payable or the expiration of any policyholder sponsored
short term Disability benefits or salary continuation
program, excluding benefits required by state law.”
(emphasis added). Williams was then required to provide proof
of loss by March 24, 2013. Therefore, the limitations period
began on March 24, 2013, and expired on March 24, 2016.
Williams did not file this suit until October 20, 2017-over a
year after the limitations period expired.
response, Williams disputes when proof of loss was due. He
argues that the deadline was extended to December 24, 2014,
because Hartford required him to provide additional
documentation. In support ...