United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
LIBERTY CORPORATE CAPITAL LTD., and AMTRUST AT LLOYD’S LTD., Plaintiffs,
ROCHELLE G. CATUS, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. Hamilton UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Partial
Motion to Dismiss Defendant’s Counterclaim and
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike, filed July 20, 2016. (ECF
No. 7). The motion is fully briefed and ready for
to her disability, Defendant Rochelle G. Catus worked as a
self-employed OB/GYN, who saw obstetrics patients for the
first six months of pregnancy, and performed certain
gynecological surgeries and/or procedures. (Complaint for
Declaratory Judgment (“Compl.”), ¶ 11). On
June 13, 2013, Defendant saw Dr. Sherry Ma, a neurologist,
for the specific symptoms of tingling in her hands, neck and
shoulder stiffness, and occasional urinary
incontinence. (Id., ¶ 13; Answer, ¶
Defendant was prescribed Gabapentin, which according to
Plaintiffs is a medication commonly utilized to treat the
symptoms of multiple sclerosis (“MS”).
(Id., ¶ 14).
underwent an MRI of her cervical spine on June 18, 2013, and
an MRI of her brain on June 26, 2013. (Compl., ¶¶ 15,
16). According to Plaintiffs, Dr. Ma’s records from
June 26, 2013 state, “demyelinating disease is a
serious consideration in this patient.” (Id.,
12, 2013, Defendant completed a Multi-Life Disability Income
Insurance Enrollment Form, applying for permanent and total
disability insurance with Lloyd’s of London. (Compl.,
¶ 18 and att. Exh. B). Policy No. 13396V13149A-003 went
into effect on August 15, 2013, providing certain coverage to
Defendant through August 14, 2018, subject to the
Policy’s terms, conditions, limitations, and
exclusions. (Id., ¶¶ 1, 21 and att. Exh.
December 4, 2013, Defendant was officially diagnosed with MS.
(Compl., ¶ 22). In April, 2015, she submitted a Proof of
Loss statement to Hanleigh Management, Inc., stating that
Defendant became permanently and totally disabled on October
15, 2014, due to MS. (Id., ¶¶ 23, 24 and
att. Exh. C). Included with Defendant’s Proof of Loss
was neurologist Barbara Green’s Attending
Physician’s Statement (“APS”), in which Dr.
Green stated that Defendant’s symptoms first appeared
in October, 2013, but then qualified that her “symptoms
occurred 1991-92, then dissapated (sic) and did not return
until 2013.” (APS, ECF No. 1-3, P. 4). Dr. Green noted
that Defendant first consulted her for the condition on
December 4, 2013, that she met the criteria for a diagnosis
of MS in September, 2013, and that she became permanently and
totally disabled on approximately September, 30, 2014.
(Id., PP. 4-5).
about January 5, 2016, following an investigation of
Defendant’s claim and review of her provided medical
records, Plaintiffs denied Defendant’s claim. (Compl.,
¶ 32 and att. Exh. D). Defendant appealed the decision,
and a second denial letter was issued on or about March 17,
2016. (Id., ¶ 36 and att. Exh. E; Answer,
8, 2016, Plaintiffs filed the instant Complaint for
Declaratory Judgment, seeking a declaration that
Defendant’s MS is a pre-existing condition not covered
by the Policy (Count I); that there is no loss due to injury
or sickness under the Policy (Count II); that the
Policy’s pre-existing condition limitation bars
coverage (Count III); that Rider #1 bars coverage for
Defendant’s claim (Count IV); and that
Defendant’s MS did not manifest itself while the Policy
was in force and her total disability did not commence within
one year of a covered sickness (Count V).
30, 2016, Defendant filed her Answer and two count
Counterclaim. As noted above Plaintiffs filed the instant
Partial Motion to Dismiss Defendant’s Counterclaim and
Motion to Strike on July 20, 2016, asserting portions of
Defendant’s Counterclaim must be dismissed for failure
to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and her
reference to punitive damages should be stricken as such
damages are unavailable under relevant Missouri law. (ECF No.
FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
ruling on a motion dismiss, the Court must view the
allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to
plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp., 514 F.3d 801,
806 (8th Cir. 2008). The Court, “must accept
the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party.” Coons v. Mineta, 410 F.3d 1036, 1039
(8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). The
complaint’s factual allegations must be sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, ” however, and the motion to dismiss must be
granted if the complaint does not contain “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007) (abrogating the “no set of
facts” standard for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) found in
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).
Furthermore, “the tenet that a court must accept as
true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (pleading offering only
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will
FOR MOTION TO STRIKE
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) provides that “[t]he
court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or
any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” “Although courts enjoy ‘broad
discretion’ in determining whether to strike a
party’s pleadings, such an action is ‘an extreme
measure.’” SSM Health Care Corp. v. Repwest
Ins. Co., 2014 WL 5800214, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 7, 2014)
(quoting Stanbury Law Firm v. IRS, 221 F.3d 1059,
1063 (8th Cir. 2000)). ...