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Estate of Evans v. Evans

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 3, 2014

THE ESTATE OF JAMES W. EVANS, by ELIZABETH ALLI as Executor of the Estate, Plaintiff,
v.
TRACY EVANS, an individual, and KINECTA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, Defendants.

ORDER

GLORIA M. NAVARRO, Chief District Judge.

Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue or, in the alternative, to Transfer for Convenience (ECF No. 7) filed by Defendant Tracy Evans ("Defendant Evans"). Defendant Kinecta Federal Credit Union ("Kinecta") filed a Joinder to the Motion. (ECF No. 8.) Plaintiff Estate of James W. Evans ("Plaintiff") filed a Response (ECF No. 12) and both Defendant Evans and Kinecta filed Replies (ECF Nos. 14, 16).

I. BACKGROUND

This action arises from the existence of two individual retirement accounts ("IRAs") that James W. Evans ("Decedent"), a resident of Henderson, Nevada, opened prior to his death. (Compl. ¶¶ 6, 8, ECF No. 1.) Decedent opened these IRAs with Kinecta following the death of his wife with funds that he inherited after her death. ( Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) However, Plaintiff alleges that Decedent failed to designate a pay-on-death beneficiary for the IRAs prior to his death." ( Id. ¶ 13.)

Shortly before Decedent's death, Kinecta sent a letter to Decedent's residence in Henderson, Nevada in which Kinecta indicated that his "Traditional and/or Roth IRA [were] being amended because [Kinecta] ha[d] transitioned to new IRA forms." ( Id. ¶ 18.) In this letter, Kinecta also represented that "[t]his amendment does not change the beneficiary designation [that Kinecta had] on file for [the] IRA." ( Id. ¶ 21.) Nevertheless, the IRA Amendment actually provided that without a beneficiary designation on file, Kinecta would pay the IRA "first to the depositor's spouse, second, if the depositor is not survived by a spouse, to the depositor's legitimate natural or legally adopted children, and third, if the depositor is not survived by a spouse or any children, then to the depositor's estate." ( Id. ¶ 22.) Thus, despite Kinecta's contrary statements, the IRA Amendment did in fact change the beneficiary designation "by changing the default beneficiary from the depositor's estate to the depositor's spouse or children." ( Id. ¶ 23.) As a result, the parties now dispute "whether the IRAs should be paid to the Estate or to [Defendant] Evans due to Decedent's death." ( Id. ¶ 10.)

Defendant now argues that the Court should dismiss this action under Rule 12(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or, in the alternative, that this Court should transfer the action to the Southern District of California.

II. MOTION TO DISMISS FOR IMPROPER VENUE

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant may move to dismiss for improper venue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), venue is appropriate in:

(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or
(3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.

28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). In determining whether venue is proper under § 1391, disputed facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and district courts draw all reasonable inferences and resolve factual disputes in favor of the non-moving party. Murphy v. Schneider Nat'l, Inc., 362 F.3d 1133, 1138 (9th Cir. 2004).

In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that venue is proper in this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) because "a substantial part of the events and omissions giving rise to the claim occurred in the State of Nevada." (Compl. ¶ 5.) Defendant Evans and Kinecta (collectively, "Defendants") both assert that "[t]his is a false statement" and that "[n]one of the alleged events or omissions give rise to a claim in Nevada." (Mot. to Dismiss 6:12, ECF No. 7.)

Despite Defendants' assertions, a sufficient part of the events related to this action certainly took place in Nevada. First, the Decedent was a resident of Nevada at the time of his death. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-7.) Thus, prior to his death, Decedent was receiving the benefits of the Agreement in Nevada. Furthermore, Kinecta sent the subject correspondence to the Decedent at his address in Henderson, Nevada. ( Id. ¶ 18.) Finally, if Plaintiff succeeds in this action, the IRAs will become part of the estate that is being probated in ...


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