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PRICE v. PHOENIX HOME LIFE INS. CO.

March 22, 1999

WILLIE JAMES PRICE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PHOENIX HOME LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Urbina, District Judge.

  MEMORANDUM OPINION
Granting the Defendants Phoenix and MetLife's Motions to Dismiss
  the Complaint and Denying the Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the
  Complaint.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on the motions of Defendants Phoenix Home Life Mutual ("Phoenix") and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's ("MetLife") to dismiss and on the plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint. The court grants the motions to dismiss due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court denies the motion to amend the complaint since it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

II. BACKGROUND

Willie James Price, a resident of Landover, Maryland, brings this pro se action against two insurance companies, Phoenix and MetLife, and the State of Maryland. The plaintiff asserts three claims: (1) breach of contract, (2) fraud, and (3) civil rights violations.

In 1960, when the plaintiff resided in the District of Columbia, he purchased a life insurance policy (636402283M) with three riders from MetLife. In 1970 MetLife issued policy number 707036285A1 to the plaintiff. This policy effectively replaced one of the riders from policy number 636402283M. MetLife then changed policy 636402283M to a three thousand dollar life insurance policy for the plaintiff. (Compl. at 3.) In 1975, MetLife issued a third policy (750645461M) to the plaintiff. (Id. at 4.) The plaintiff states in his complaint that he sent the three policies to MetLife for cash surrender with a cash value of approximately thirty-five thousand dollars.*fn1 (Id.) The plaintiff states that MetLife paid the plaintiff approximately fourteen thousand dollars on the policies. (Id.) The plaintiff had a dispute with MetLife regarding the cost of living rider. (Id. at 5.) The plaintiff then filed a claim with the Maryland Insurance Commissioner to which the insurance company responded.*fn2 (Id.) In 1997 the plaintiff requested, but has yet to receive, a hearing with the commissioner's office. (Id. at 6.) In 1987, Phoenix issued two new policies to the plaintiff. (Id. at 5.) The plaintiff also disputed the cost of living rider with Phoenix. (Id.)

The plaintiff filed three suits in Maryland's District Court. That court determined that the complaint lacked merit and dismissed the plaintiff's claims. The Circuit Court of Maryland affirmed this decision in December 1988. (Id. at 4.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

1. Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss does not test whether the plaintiff will prevail on the merits, but instead whether the claimant has properly stated a claim. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974). In deciding on such a motion, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1427 (7th Cir. 1996). However, the court need not accept as true the plaintiff's legal conclusions. See Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986). The court may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved ...


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