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Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Thrower-Clarke

United States District Court, District of Columbia

October 22, 2018

METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
GAIL FELICIA THROWER-CLARKE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          KETANJI BROWN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (“MetLife” or “Plaintiff”) has filed the instant action against Gail Felicia Thrower-Clarke (“Thrower-Clarke” or “Defendant”) to recover $26, 028.85 that MetLife inadvertently paid to Thrower-Clarke pursuant to a claim for life insurance proceeds. (See Compl., ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 3, 20.) MetLife filed the instant lawsuit on November 28, 2017, claiming violations of the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act (“FEGLIA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 8701-8716, unjust enrichment, and conversion. (See Id. ¶¶ 36, 44, 50.) MetLife served Thrower-Clarke on February 24, 2018 (see Aff. Of Service, ECF No. 7), and after Thrower-Clarke failed to file a timely answer, MetLife requested an entry of default (see Aff. For Default, ECF No. 8), which the Clerk entered on April 18, 2018 (see Entry of Default, ECF No. 10).

         Before this Court at present is the subsequent motion for entry of default judgment that MetLife filed on May 3, 2018. (See Pl.'s Mot. for Default J. (“Pl.'s Mot.”), ECF No. 14.) This Court referred Met Life's motion to a magistrate judge for full case management (see Minute Order of May 10, 2018; Minute Entry of May 10, 2018), and the matter was assigned to Magistrate Judge Harvey.

         On July 24, 2018, Magistrate Judge Harvey filed a comprehensive Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) with respect to MetLife's motion for default judgment. (See R. & R., ECF No. 18.)[1] The R&R reflects Magistrate Judge Harvey's opinion that MetLife's motion for default judgment against Thrower-Clarke should be granted, and that default judgment should be entered against Defendant in the amount of $26, 628.85 (an amount that reflects the insurance proceeds Thrower-Clarke received as well as an additional $600 to cover court fees and the cost of serving the complaint). (See R. & R. at 7; see Id. at 6.)[2] Specifically, Magistrate Judge Harvey concludes that the instant circumstances satisfy the default judgment standard, because Thrower-Clarke had failed to respond to MetLife's complaint, to the Clerk's entry of default, or to MetLife's motion for a default judgment. (See Id. at 5.) With respect to the measure of monetary damages, the R&R recommends that the Court credit the allegations in MetLife's complaint, which “are well-pled and undisputed[, ]” and “which establish that [Thrower-Clarke's] retention of the insurance proceeds [in the amount of $26, 028.85] render her liable for unjust enrichment and conversion[.]” (Id. at 6.)

         In addition to articulating these conclusions, the R&R also informs the parties that either party may file written objections, and advises that the “failure to file timely objections to the findings and recommendations set forth in this report may waive [the party's] right of appeal from an order of the District Court that adopts such findings and recommendations.” (Id. at 7 (citing Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985)).) Under this Court's local rules, any party who objects to a report and recommendation of a Magistrate Judge must file a written objection with the Clerk of the Court within 14 days of the party's receipt of the report, and any such written objection must specify the portions of the findings and recommendations to which each objection is made and the basis for each such objection. See LCvR 73.2(b). As of the date of the instant Memorandum Opinion-nearly three months after the R & R at issue here was issued- Thrower-Clarke has not filed any such objection.

         This Court has reviewed Magistrate Judge Harvey's R&R and agrees with its careful and thorough analysis and conclusions. In particular, the Court agrees that MetLife's allegations and supporting evidence establish that Thrower-Clarke cashed a check for insurance proceeds that MetLife had inadvertently disbursed to her in the amount of $26, 028.85, and that she improperly retained those funds; this conduct is sufficient to render Thrower-Clarke liable for unjust enrichment and conversion. (See Id. at 6.) As a result, a default judgment against Thrower-Clarke in the amount of the converted sum-$26, 028.85-plus court costs ($600) is appropriate. (See Id. at 7.) The Court further concurs with Magistrate Judge Harvey's conclusion that, although MetLife's complaint requests attorney's fees and interest, MetLife appears to have relinquished any claim with respect to such damages, since it failed to make any such request in its motion for default judgment, and has not “demonstrated its entitlement to either fees or interest[.]” (Id. at 6.)

         In sum, in the absence of any timely-filed objection, and after conducting its own review of this matter, this Court accepts Magistrate Judge Harvey's analysis of the record evidence in full, and ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation in its entirety. Accordingly, Plaintiff's [14] Motion for Default Judgment will be GRANTED, and default judgment will be entered against Defendant in the amount of $26, 628.85.

         A separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

         METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,

         v.

         GAIL FELICIA THROWER-CLARKE, Defendant.

         No. 1:17-cv-02552 (KBJ/GMH)

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         This matter was referred to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation on Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's (“MetLife's” or “Plaintiff's”) motion for default judgment. [Dkt. 14]. In this case, Plaintiff seeks to recover from Gail Felicia Thrower-Clarke (“Defendant”) funds that Plaintiff inadvertently paid to Defendant pursuant to her claim for life insurance proceeds under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act (“FEGLIA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 8701-8716, [Dkt. 1, ¶ 3]. Upon consideration of Plaintiff's complaint, motion for default judgment, and the supporting affidavits and documentary evidence, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that ...


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