United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
AMERICAN-AMICABLE LIFE. INSURANCE COMPANY OF TEXAS, Plaintiff/Cross-Claim Defendant,
SHELIA K. SNYDER and NIKKI J. DAVIS, Defendants/Cross-Claim Plaintiffs/ Cross-Claim Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT DAVIS'S MOTION TO
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
interpleader action involves a dispute over $100, 000 of life
insurance proceeds from a policy issued by Plaintiff
American-Amicable Life Insurance Company of Texas
(“AATX”). AATX filed a complaint in interpleader
in the Circuit Court of Cass County, Missouri, against Shelia
Snyder (“Snyder”) and Nikki Davis
(“Davis”). On June 6, 2017, the case was removed
to this Court. Afterward, AATX deposited the funds into the
before the Court is Davis's motion to dismiss
Snyder's cross-claim against her (Doc. 4). For the
reasons stated below, Davis's motion is GRANTED.
and Procedural Background
Snyder died on May 21, 2016, leaving the proceeds of a life
insurance policy (the “Policy”). At the time of
his death, he was in the midst of a divorce from Snyder. The
Policy application listed Snyder as the designated
beneficiary. Before his death, on April 5, 2015, AATX
received a beneficiary change request naming Davis as the
primary beneficiary. Both Snyder and Davis filed a claim with
AATX for the life insurance proceeds.
March 31, 2017, AATX filed an interpleader action in the
Circuit Court of Cass County, Missouri. On May 7, 2017,
Snyder answered, and asserted a counterclaim against AATX
requesting AATX deposit the policy proceeds with the Clerk of
the Court and alleging that AATX improperly accepted a
non-compliant change of beneficiary form. She also asserted
a cross-claim against Davis alleging the beneficiary
change form was forged, not voluntarily executed by Larry
Snyder due to Davis's undue influence, and that Larry
Snyder was “not of sound mind” at the time the
form was completed.
6, 2017, AATX removed this case, citing the Court's
diversity jurisdiction. AATX is a Texas corporation with its
principal place of business in Texas. Both Snyder and Davis
are citizens of Missouri.
June 6, 2017, Davis filed an answer to AATX's complaint
and asserted two cross-claims against Snyder: (1) requesting
the Court find Davis is the beneficiary of the policy; and
(2) for defamation. On that same day, Davis filed a motion to
dismiss Snyder's cross-claims. Snyder did not file a
response to the motion to dismiss.
August 8, 2017, the Court ordered Snyder to show cause why
the motion to dismiss should not be granted. Snyder did not
respond to the Court's Show Cause order.
complaint may be dismissed if it fails “to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). In reviewing the adequacy of a complaint, a court
assumes that the factual allegations in the complaint are
true and construes them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Data Mfg. Inc. v. UPS, Inc., 557 F.3d
849, 851 (8th Cir. 2009). While courts will accept factual
allegations as true, a court must “reject conclusory
allegations of law and unwarranted inferences.”
Silver v. H&R Block, Inc., 105 F.3d 394, 397
(8th Cir. 1997).
diversity case, the Court must apply Missouri law as declared
by the Supreme Court of Missouri and may not disregard
decisions of the Missouri Court of Appeals. Int'l
Envtl. Mgmt., Inc. v. United Corp. Servs., Inc., 858
F.3d 1121, 1125 (8th Cir. 2017). Federal pleading standards
govern despite the application of state substantive law.
moves to dismiss Snyder's cross claim against her. She
doesn't state she is seeking dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) explicitly, but she does state that Snyder's
claims fail “the pleading standard” and then
argues Snyder has not pled the necessary elements of her
claim. As best the Court can tell, Snyder alleges: (1) Davis
committed fraud/forgery; (2) Davis exercised undue influence
over Larry Snyder; ...