United States District Court, D. Utah
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,
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH Defendant, and, KYLE MIXON, Intervenor.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT
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.
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
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
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.” 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.
January 8, 2018, Plaintiffs amended their Complaint to
include a request for the following declarations regarding
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 . . .
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.
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.” 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.
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
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. 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.
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
The Order, therefore, does not prohibit Plaintiffs from
filing their claims in any United States District Court, as
suggested by Plaintiffs. However, because the Court ...