Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Anderson v. University of Utah

United States District Court, D. Utah

May 8, 2018

DAVE ANDERSON, BRYAN FLAKE, SPENCER HOGUE, JIM JACKETTA, MATT OGLESBY, BRITT MILLER, JESSICA PRATHER, MARK SCHAEFER & JIM STONE, AS TRUSTEES OF THE UTAH-IDAHO TEAMSTERS SECURITY FUND, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH Defendant, and, KYLE MIXON, Intervenor.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT

          Ted Stewart Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Amended Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment and Supporting Memorandum. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs are the named Trustee-Fiduciaries of the Utah-Idaho Teamsters Security Fund, which administer the employee benefit plan (“the Plan”) at issue in this action. On September 28, 2014, Intervenor Kyle Mixon (“Mixon”), a “covered person” under the Plan, was seriously injured in a car accident involving Patricia Headley (“Headley”). Mixon was treated by Defendant University of Utah Hospital (“Defendant”).

         Following the accident, Mixon brought several claims against Headley. Headley's insurance company, Farmers Insurance Company (“Farmers”), has allegedly agreed to pay $100, 000 in insurance policy limits to settle Mixon's claims against Headley. Plaintiffs and Defendant both claim an interest in the $100, 000. Plaintiffs claim that Farmers will not disperse the settlement funds until a determination as to who has first rights to the funds is reached. As a result, Plaintiffs filed an action for declaratory judgment in this Court.

         On October 20, 2017, Mixon filed his motion to intervene, wherein he alleged that his agreement with Farmers to settle the claims in exchange for $100, 000 was merely an oral agreement, and that “[he] has not signed a formal settlement agreement or release, nor has he received the settlement amount from Farmers.”[1] The Court granted Mixon's motion to intervene on December 14, 2017. Additionally, in response to Mixon's representation that the settlement funds may not issue, the Court ordered supplemental briefing on whether the issues before the Court were fit for declaratory judgment.

         On January 8, 2018, Plaintiffs amended their Complaint to include a request for the following declarations regarding Mixon:

As to Mixon 1) that he has no rights in the $100, 000.00 . . . and 2) Under the Plan Document, Plaintiffs have the independent rights to “sue, compromise, or settle” with third parties in their own names or in the name of . . . Mixon “to the full extent of the fringe benefit payments made to or on behalf of . . . Mixon.”[2]

         On February 26, 2018, the Court issued a memorandum decision and order (“the February 26 Order”) finding that the issue regarding the rights to the alleged settlement funds was not yet ripe for determination and declining to exercise discretionary jurisdiction over the remaining issue regarding Plaintiffs' rights to pursue claims against Headley. The Court entered judgment dismissing Plaintiffs' claims without prejudice on February 28, 2018.

         On March 28, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Amend/Correct Judgment and Memorandum in Support pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Motion requests that the Court “reconsider its decision to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for declaratory relief against Mixon because the Court has misapprehended controlling law, and in order to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”[3] Plaintiffs do not challenge the Court's finding that a determination of which party has first rights to the settlement funds is not yet ripe, but do challenge the Court's decision not to exercise jurisdiction regarding Plaintiffs' right to independently settle with or bring suit against Headley under the Plan.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs present their Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. “Rule 59(e) relief is appropriate only where ‘the court has misapprehended the facts, a party's position, or the controlling law.'”[4]

         In the Court's February 26 Order, the Court declined to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction over the matter at issue upon consideration of the factors laid out in State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Mhoon.[5] Plaintiffs argue that this reasoning erroneously assumes that the matter may be decided in state court. Plaintiffs explain that state courts do not have jurisdiction over claims that arise under ERISA. Therefore, Plaintiffs conclude that they would be prohibited from seeking recovery in any court without a determination of their rights under the Plan by this Court.

         The Court's February 26 Order does not mention state court or make any ruling regarding the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. The Court only declined to exercise its jurisdiction under the Declaratory Judgment Act.[6] The Order, therefore, does not prohibit Plaintiffs from filing their claims in any United States District Court, as suggested by Plaintiffs.[7] However, because the Court ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.