Hasbrouck v. Starr Indem. & Liab. Co., Case No. 13-CV-174-J

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtAlan B. Johnson United States District Judge
Decision Date17 October 2014
PartiesMICHELLE HASBROUCK, Plaintiff, v. STARR INDEMNITY & LIABILITY COMPANY, a New York company, STARR COMPANIES, a New York corporation, MED-SENSE GUARANTEED ASSOCIATION, an Illinois corporation, and HEALTH INSURANCE INNOVATIONS INC., a Florida corporation, Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No. 13-CV-174-J

MICHELLE HASBROUCK, Plaintiff,
v.
STARR INDEMNITY & LIABILITY COMPANY, a New York company,
STARR COMPANIES, a New York corporation,
MED-SENSE GUARANTEED ASSOCIATION, an Illinois corporation,
and HEALTH INSURANCE INNOVATIONS INC., a Florida corporation, Defendants.

Case No. 13-CV-174-J

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF WYOMING

October 17, 2014


OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT MED-SENSE GUARANTEED ASSOCIATION'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT HEALTH INSURANCE INNOVATION, INC.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS STARR INDEMNITY & LIABILITY COMPANY AND STARR COMPANIES' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT HEALTH INSURANCE INNOVATIONS, INC.'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT MED-SENSE GUARANTEED ASSOCIATION'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Page 2

The following have come before the Court for consideration: Plaintiff's "Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as Against Defendant Starr Indemnity and Liability Company/Starr Companies" (Doc. No. 61) and Defendants Starr Indemnity & Liability Company's and Starr Companies' response (Doc. No. 69); Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association's "Motion for Summary Judgment" (Doc. No. 65), the Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 70), and Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association's reply (Doc. No. 72); Defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc.'s "Motion for Summary Judgment" (Doc. No. 67), the Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 71), and Defendant Health Insurance Innovation's reply (Doc. No. 73); Defendants Starr Indemnity & Liability Company and Starr Companies' "Motion for Partial Summary Judgment" (Doc. No. 77), Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 89), and Defendants Starr's reply (Doc. No. 95); Defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc.'s "Motion for Partial Summary Judgment" (Doc. No. 79), Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 87), and Defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc.'s reply (Doc. No. 94); and Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association's "Motion for Partial Summary Judgment" (Doc. No. 81), Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 88), and Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association's reply (Doc. No. 93).

After reviewing the parties' submissions, the applicable law, and being fully advised, the Court finds that Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 61) should be DENIED, Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 65) should be GRANTED, Defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 67) should be GRANTED, Defendants Starr Indemnity & Liability Company and Starr Companies' partial motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 77) should be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART for the reasons stated below. The Court further finds that Defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc.'s motion for partial summary judgment

Page 3

(Doc. No. 79) and Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association's motion for partial summary judgment (Doc. No. 81) should be DENIED AS MOOT.

BACKGROUND

In May of 2012, Plaintiff Michelle Hasbrouck purchased a second six-month Short Term Medical Insurance ("STMI") plan. Defendants Starr Companies and Star Indemnity & Liability Company ("Defendants Starr") underwrite the STMI plan. Defendants Starr have an agreement with Defendant Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. ("Defendant HII") to market the STMI plan. In Wyoming, the STMI plan is available to members of Med-Sense Guaranteed Association. Defendant Med-Sense Guaranteed Association ("Defendant MSGA") contracts with Defendant HII to provide marketing and administrative services. On July 18, 2012, Plaintiff became ill and was admitted to Wyoming Medical Center for treatment. Subsequently, Plaintiff submitted her medical bills for payment.

On August 16, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging a breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing in the handling of her insurance claim and a claim of fraud against each of the Defendants. Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff sought relief in the form of, among other damages, compensatory and consequential damages, damages for severe emotional distress, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney's fees. Id. On September 11, 2013, Defendants Starr approved payment of Plaintiff's claim in the amount of $11,268.96. Doc. No. 62.

On September 12, 2013, Defendants Starr filed an Answer generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 10. On September 17, 2013, Defendant HII filed an Answer also generally denying Plaintiff's claims and alleging various affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 14. On September 19, 2013, Defendant MSGA filed its Answer

Page 4

to Plaintiff's Complaint, generally denying Plaintiff's claims and setting forth multiple affirmative defenses.

On May 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment against Defendants Starr. Doc. No. 61. Defendants Starr responded to that motion on May 29, 2014. Doc. No. 69. Plaintiff did not file a reply or ask for oral argument. On May 23, 2013, Defendant MSGA filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. No. 65. Plaintiff responded to that motion on June 6, 2014. Doc. No. 70. Defendant MSGA filed its reply on June 12, 2014. Doc. No. 72.

On May 28, 2014, Defendant HII filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. No. 67. Plaintiff responded to that motion on June 10, 2014. Doc. No. 71. Defendant HII filed its reply on June 17, 2014. Doc. No. 73. On July 23, 2014, Defendants Starr filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Doc. No. 77. With leave of the Court, Plaintiff responded to that motion on August 19, 2014. Doc. No. 89. With leave of the Court, Defendants Starr filed their reply on September 2, 2014. Doc. No. 95.

On July 25, 2014, Defendant HII filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Doc. No. 79. Plaintiff responded that motion, with leave of the Court, on August 19, 2014. Doc. No. 88. Also with leave of the Court, Defendant HII filed its reply on September 2, 2014. Doc. No. 93.

On July 25, 2014, Defendant MSGA filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Doc. No. 81. Plaintiff responded to that motion with leave of the Court on August 19,2014. Doc. No. 88. Also with leave of the Court, Defendant MSGA filed its reply on September 2, 2014. Doc. No. 94.

The Court finds that these matters are fully briefed and are ripe for disposition. First, the Court will address the question of jurisdiction. The Court will then analyze the questions related to the alleged breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. Next, the Court will

Page 5

consider the questions related to Plaintiff's claim of fraud. Finally, the Court will address Defendant HII's and Defendant MSGA's motions for partial summary judgment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate where "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A dispute of fact is genuine if a reasonable juror could resolve the disputed fact in favor of either side. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is material if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998). When the Court considers the evidence presented by the parties, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the non-movant's favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

The party moving for summary judgment has the burden of establishing the nonexistence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Lynch v. Barrett, 703 F.3d 1153, 1158 (10th Cir. 2013). The moving party can satisfy this burden by either (1) offering affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim, or (2) demonstrating that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to establish an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B).

Once the moving party satisfies this initial burden, the nonmoving party must support its contention that a genuine dispute of material fact exists either by (1) citing to particular materials in the record, or (2) showing that the materials cited by the moving party do not establish the absence of a genuine dispute. See id. The nonmoving party must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, to survive a summary judgment motion, the

Page 6

nonmoving party must "make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of [every] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Further, when opposing summary judgment, the nonmoving party cannot rest on allegations or denials in the pleadings but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial. See Travis v. Park City Mun. Corp., 565 F.3d 1252, 1258 (10th Cir. 2009).

When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court's role is not to weigh the evidence and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT