United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
Kay Fleming sues Defendant Jackson National Life Insurance
Company for denying a life insurance claim she made after her
husband's death. Jackson National has moved for summary
judgment . Having considered the matter, the Court finds
the motion should be granted.
1984, Jackson National issued a life insurance policy to
Curtis and Kay Fleming, with both of them being insured under the
policy. Def.'s Itemization of Facts  ¶
Jackson National Life Insurance Company Policy #061520920
(the "Policy" or "policy") at p.
In 1991, the Flemings took out a loan against the loan value
of the policy. Id. ¶ 5. From 1994 to 1999, they
made no payments on either the principal or the interest of
the loan, and took out a second loan against the policy.
Id. ¶¶ 7-11.
2000, the accrued interest caused the balance on the loan to
exceed the loan value of the policy. Id. ¶ 12.
Jackson National sent the Flemings written notice that the
total loan balance had exceeded the loan value, and informed
them that they could either terminate the policy or make a
loan payment to decrease the balance below the loan value of
the policy. Id. ¶¶ 13-14. The Flemings
made the required payment to reduce the loan balance and keep
the policy in effect and continued making premium payments.
Id. ¶¶ 16-17.
cycle repeated itself for the next decade. The Flemings would
pay premiums but would make no or infrequent payments on the
loan; interest would accrue and bring the loan balance above
the loan value of the policy; Jackson National would send
notice that the Flemings needed to pay down the loan; and the
Flemings would make a single loan payment to keep the policy
in place. Id. ¶¶ 18-35.
11, 2012, Jackson National again sent notice that the loan
balance had exceeded the loan value of the policy.
Id. ¶ 38; Peruchietti Aff., Exhibit 6. The
notice stated that the loan balance was $3, 248.00 over the
loan value of the policy. It further stated that the policy
would be automatically terminated if Jackson National did not
receive payment within 31 days. Id. ¶ 39. Thus,
the Flemings had until June 11, 2012 to make the payment.
4, Kay called Jackson National to determine the amount the
needed to be paid. Id. ¶ 40. During the call,
Jackson National extended the due date for the loan payment
to July 20, 2012. Id. ¶ 41; Peruchietti Aff.,
Exhibit 7. On June 19 and June 29, Kay called Jackson
National again. During both calls, Jackson National informed
her that the policy would remain in force as long as the
Flemings made the required loan payment. Id.
¶¶ 43-49; Peruchietti Aff., Exhibits 8, 10.
Flemings did not make the loan payment by July 20, 2012,
although they did make a premium payment sometime in July.
Id. ¶¶ 50-51. Curtis passed away on August
23, 2012. Id. ¶ 53. Kay made a claim for the
life insurance proceeds from the policy. Jackson National
investigated the claim, determined that the policy terminated
on July 21, 2012 after the Flemings failed to make the
minimum loan payment, and denied the claim. Id.
initiated this action in state court consisting of three
claims: (1) bad faith denial of insurance coverage; (2)
breach of contract; and (3) breach of fiduciary duty. Jackson
National timely removed the matter to this court.
National now argues that it is entitled to summary judgment
because the Flemings did not pay down the loan balance as
required by the policy. Kay has responded. The matter is ripe
56 Summary Judgment Standard
judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Johnston &
Johnston v. Conseco Life Ins. Co., 732 F.3d 555, 561
(5th Cir. 2013). The rule "mandates the entry of summary
judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion,
against a party who fails to make a sufficient showing to
establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp., Ml
U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548.
party moving for summary judgment bears the initial
responsibility of informing the Court of the basis for its
motion and identifying those portions of the record it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact. See Id. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548.
"An issue of fact is material only if its resolution
could affect the outcome of the action." DeBlanc v.
St. Tammany Par. Sch. Bd, 640 Fed.Appx. 308, 312 (5th
Cir. 2016) (per curiam) (quoting Manning v. Chevron
Chem. Co., LLC, 332 F.3d 874, 877 (5th Cir. 2003)
(quoting Wyatt v. Hunt Plywood Co., 297 F.3d 405,
408 (5th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted))).
Rule 56(a), the burden then shifts to the nonmovant to
"go beyond the pleadings and by ... affidavits, or by
the 'depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, ' designate 'specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'"
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548;
Littlefleld v. Forney Indep. Sch Dist., 268 F.3d
275, 282 (5th Cir. 2001); Willis v. Roche Biomedical
Labs., Inc.,61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir. 1995). The Court
"'resolve[s] factual controversies in favor of the
nonmoving party, but only where there is an actual
controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted
evidence of contradictory facts.'" Thomas v.
Baldwin, 595 Fed. App'x. 378, 378 (5th Cir. 2014)
(per curiam) (quoting Antoine v. First Student,
Inc.,713 F.3d 824, 830 (5th Cir. 2013) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted)). "[T]he nonmoving