Heath v. Estate of Bryan Wayne Heath et al

Filing 65

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge James H Hancock on 3/23/2016. (JLC)

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FILED 2016 Mar-23 AM 11:36 U.S. DISTRICT COURT N.D. OF ALABAMA IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA SOUTHERN DIVISION CHRISTY JAMES HEATH, PLAINTIFF, ) ) VS. ) ESTATE OF BRYAN WAYNE, HEATH, et al. 2:14-cv-610-JHH ) ) DEFENDANTS. ) MEMORANDUM OPINION The court has before it Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #59) filed on February 22, 2016. The Motion (Doc. #59) provides no rationale for the dismissal sought without prejudice. On February 23, 2016, noting that the Motion (Doc. #59) appeared to be procedurally defaulted, the court ordered Defendants to file a responsive brief. (Doc. #60). Defendants Estate of Bryan Wayne Heath and Heath Financial filed a response informing the court that they had no opposition to the motion to dismiss. (Doc. #61). Defendant Principal Life Insurance Company (“Principal”) filed a response on March 18, 2016 arguing that any dismissal of the complaint should be predicated on certain conditions. The court agrees. A voluntary dismissal without prejudice is not a matter of 1 right. Fisher v. Puerto Rico Marine Mgt., Inc., 940 F.2d 1502, 1502 (11th Cir. 1991) (citation omitted). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) provides that a voluntary dismissal is “only by court order, on terms that the court considers proper.” The interests of the defendant are important; in fact, “Rule 41(a)(2) exists chiefly for protection of defendants.” Fisher, 940 F.2d at 1503. Here, defendant Principal would be prejudiced by a complete voluntary dismissal without prejudice. The case has been pending for nearly two years. Discovery has been propounded and substantial attorneys’ fees have been incurred. See Versa Prods., Inc. v. Home Depot, USA, Inc., 387 F.3d 1325 (11th Cir. 2004). For these reasons, the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #59) is due to be granted with certain conditions. A separate order of dismissal will be entered. DONE this the 23rd day of March, 2016. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2

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