United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 6)
filed by defendants Anthem Life Insurance Company and Anthem
Flexible Benefit Plan (collectively,
“Defendants”). The essence of the motion is that
Plaintiff's claim for long-term disability
(“LTD”) benefits should be judicially estopped,
as it was not disclosed in Plaintiff's bankruptcy
proceeding, In re Rochelle Byrd, Case No. 16-44756
(Bankr. E.D. Mo 2016) (“Bankruptcy Case”). The
matter is fully briefed, Plaintiff having filed her
opposition (ECF No. 16) and Defendants having filed a reply
(ECF No. 18). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction
of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons discussed below, the
motion to dismiss is denied.
filed the instant motion under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), which provides for dismissal based on the
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” To survive a motion to dismiss a complaint
must show “‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief, ' in order to ‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “When ruling on a
defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as
true all of the factual allegations contained in the
complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007). All reasonable inferences from the complaint must
be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Martin v.
Iowa, 752 F.3d 725, 727 (8th Cir. 2014).
asserts that the Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) should
be converted to a motion for summary judgement by operation
of Rule 12(d). Rule 12(d) provides: “If, on a motion
under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings
are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion
must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule
56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges that because Defendants' motion includes
reference to filings in the Bankruptcy Case, the motion
should be treated as one for summary judgment.
this circuit, Rule 12(b)(6) motions are not automatically
converted into motions for summary judgment simply because
one party submits additional matters in support of or
opposition to the motion.” State ex rel. Nixon v.
Coeur D'Alene Tribe, 164 F.3d 1102, 1107 (8th Cir.
1999). A court may take judicial notice of public records and
may consider them on a motion to dismiss. Stahl v. U.S.
Dep't of Agric., 327 F.3d 697, 700 (8th Cir.2003).
Here, the pleadings in the Bankruptcy Case are public
records, and thus there is no need to convert the motion to
dismiss into one for summary judgment. Therefore, the Court
has not taken any of Plaintiff's evidentiary submissions
(ECF No. 17) into account.
noted above, the Court must treat all well-pled factual
allegations in the Complaint as true. Plaintiff is a 47
year-old female who was employed by Anthem, Inc. as a
Medicare Sales Manager in St. Louis from December 3, 2012
through February 24, 2016. (Complaint, ECF No. 1 at
¶¶ 4-5, 13) As part of her employment, Plaintiff
was eligible for LTD insurance coverage. (Id. at
¶¶ 6-9) The LTD coverage was provided as part of an
employee benefits plan (Defendant Anthem Flexible Benefit
Plan, or “Plan”), which is subject to the
requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et
seq. (Id. at ¶¶ 1, 7-9) The claims
administrator for the Plan was Defendant Anthem Life
Insurance Company (“Anthem Life”). (Id.
at ¶ 12)
on February 24, 2016, Plaintiff was unable to perform the
duties of her job due to behavioral health conditions.
(Id. at ¶ 17) She took leave under the Family
and Medical Leave Act and was approved by her employer for
short-term disability (“STD”) benefits.
(Id. at ¶ 18) Plaintiff was eligible for STD
benefits for 180 days and received them for that period.
1, 2016, Plaintiff filed for bankruptcy in the Bankruptcy
Court of the Eastern District of Missouri. (ECF No. 7-1) She
filed under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C.
§ 1301 et seq. (Id. at 2, 4)
27, 2016, as the 180-day STD period was running short, Anthem
Life sent Plaintiff a notice that she may be eligible for LTD
benefits, along with the paperwork for applying for those
benefits. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 22) Plaintiff completed the
forms and submitted pertinent medical records to Anthem Life
for review. (Id. at ¶ 23)
August 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion to convert her
bankruptcy from a Chapter 13 case to a proceeding under
Chapter 7, 11 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. (ECF No.
7-3) The Bankruptcy Court granted the request on August 23,
2016. (ECF No. 7-4)
September 21, 2016, Defendant Anthem Life sent a letter to
Plaintiff informing her that it was denying her claim for LTD
benefits. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 32) Plaintiff ...