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Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Co. v. Ruckman

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 28, 2019

GENWORTH LIFE AND ANNUITY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiffs,
v.
NATALIE M. RUCKMAN, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is plaintiff Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company's (“GLAIC”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 18). Defendant Natalie M. Ruckman (“Ruckman”) did not file a response and the time to do so has passed.

         Also before the court is GLAIC's motion for default judgment. (ECF Nos. 34, 35).

         Also before the court is Ruckman's motion for leave to file an amended answer. (ECF No. 36). GLAIC has not filed a response and the time to do so has passed.

         I. Facts

         The instant case arises from competing claims to Eric J. Ruckman's (“the decedent”) $200, 000 life insurance policy (“the policy”). (ECF No. 10). GLAIC filed the instant complaint in interpleader under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1). Id. The complaint contains the following allegations:

         GLAIC issued a life insurance policy with a $200, 000 death benefit to the decedent on April 19, 2000. Id. At the time of issuance, the decedent designated his wife, Ruckman, as the beneficiary. Id. On or about January 12, 2010, the decedent and Ruckman separated. Id. The final divorce decree did not address the disposition of the policy. Id.

         On July 14, 2016, the decedent died in Las Vegas, Nevada. Id. On August 21, 2016, Ruckman presented to GLAIC a claim for the death benefit and an accompanying death certificate. Id. Ruckman asserted that she was the rightful beneficiary of the policy despite the Nevada divorce revocation statute. Id.

         On August 8, 2018, GLAIC initiated the instant action in interpleader pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1335 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 22. (ECF No. 1). In its complaint, GLAIC named Ruckman and the estate of Eric J. Ruckman (“the estate”) as defendants. (ECF No. 10).

         On October 1, 2018, Ruckman filed an answer and counterclaim to GLAIC's complaint. (ECF No. 14). On October 22, 2018, GLAIC filed a motion to dismiss Ruckman's counterclaims. (ECF No. 18).

         On November 29, 2018, GLAIC moved for clerk's entry of default against the estate. (ECF No. 30). The next day, the clerk entered default. (ECF No. 31). On December 3, 2018, an affidavit was filed with the court in which the decedent's daughter states that the decedent intended to give his death benefit to Ruckman. (ECF No. 32).

         Now, GLAIC moves for default judgment against the estate. (ECF Nos. 34, 35). Further, Ruckman requests the court's leave to file an amended complaint that excludes the counterclaims that GLAIC contests in its motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 36).

         II. Legal Standard

         a. Leave to amend

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) provides that “[t]he court should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The United States Supreme Court has interpreted Rule 15(a) and confirmed the liberal standard district courts must ...


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