Patel et al v. Trivedi et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER dismissing as moot 14 Motion to Dismiss, Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Vikram Trivedi, granting 21 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Vikram Trivedi, granting 19 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by New York Life Insurance Company. Signed by Honorable P. K. Holmes, III on May 7, 2012. (cap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
NATVERLAL PATEL; and
Case No. 4:10-CV-04195
VIKRAM TRIVEDI; and NEW YORK
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Currently before the Court are Separate Defendant Vikram Trivedi’s first Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 14) and brief in support (Doc. 15) and Plaintiffs Natverlal and Jaswanti Patel’s (“the Patels”)
Response (Doc. 17) and brief in support (Doc. 18); Separate Defendant New York Life Insurance
Company’s (“New York Life”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19) and brief in support (Doc. 20); and
Defendant Trivedi’s second Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21) and brief in support (Doc. 22). For the
reasons set forth below, Trivedi’s first Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 14) is DENIED AS MOOT; New
York Life’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19) is GRANTED; and Trivedi’s second Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 21) is GRANTED.
The Patels originally filed their Complaint against Trivedi and New York Life in an effort
to recoup premiums paid for certain insurance policies the Patels had with New York Life. The
Patels alleged causes of action against New York Life for fraud in the inducement, civil conspiracy,
negligent supervision, and breach of contract and also sought an accounting of the money they paid
New York Life and the status of all their policies. However, on December 8, 2011, the Court issued
an Order (Doc. 13) as to New York Life’s original Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6) granting the motion
in large part, but denying the motion as to the Patels’ breach of contract claim. As to their breach
of contract claim, the Patels were ordered to amend their complaint and to provide a more definite
statement setting forth a specific date or definite timeframe as to when any alleged breach occurred
and identifying any specific policy provisions they allege were breached. Trivedi filed his first
Motion to Dismiss soon after the Court issued its Order. The Patels then filed their Amended
Complaint, as ordered, on December 30, 2011. In accordance with the Court’s Order, the Amended
Complaint dropped most of the claims originally brought against both Trivedi and New York Life,
leaving only a breach of contract claim. The Patels have failed to respond to the motions to dismiss
filed by Trivedi and New York Life regarding the Amended Complaint.
In ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all of the factual
allegations contained in a complaint and reviews the complaint to determine whether its allegations
show that the pleader is entitled to relief. Schaaf v. Residential Funding Corp., 517 F.3d 544, 549
(8th Cir. 2008); see also Whitehead v. Delta Beverage Group, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93493
(W.D. Ark. 2006). All reasonable inferences from the complaint must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Crumpley-Patterson v. Trinity Lutheran Hosp., 388 F.3d 588, 590 (8th Cir. 2004).
Complaints should be liberally construed in the plaintiff’s favor and “should not be dismissed for
failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of [their] claim[s] which would entitle [them] to relief.” Rucci v. City of Pacific, 327 F.3d
651, 652 (8th Cir. 2003)(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).
Much of the Amended Complaint contains references to express and implied warranties,
loans, interest rates, taxes, etc. which seem to relate to the Patels’ former claims for fraud in the
inducement, civil conspiracy, and negligent supervision which have already been dismissed. The
only breach of contract allegation discernible to the Court is the Patels’ allegation that New York
Life breached the three exhibit policies by refusing to honor a waiver of premium benefit when
Jaswanti Patel became disabled during the term of the policy. Any statements or allegations made
in the Amended Complaint which are irrelevant to the breach of contract claim are not made in
accordance with the Court’s previous Order (Doc. 13) and, therefore, will not be addressed further
in this Opinion.
Both Trivedi and New York Life argue that the Patels’ claim for breach of contract is barred
by the applicable statute of limitations under Arkansas law. The applicable statute of limitations
mandates that such claims be brought within five years after the cause of action accrues. Ark. Code
Ann. § 16-56-111. The Defendants argue that the Patels’ cause of action accrued in 2002, when they
first made a claim to New York Life that their premium should be waived due to Mrs. Patel’s
disability. The Court does not agree with this assertion. In a letter dated March 28, 2002, a
representative of New York Life stated simply that New York Life was “looking into the matter.”
(Doc. 16-4). At that time, New York Life, it appears, had not made any decisions regarding whether
the Patels’ premium would be waived. According to the information contained in the pleadings and
available to the Court, New York Life did not inform the Patels of its definitive decision until August
of 2008, in a letter that started out by stating that New York Life had been “looking in to the
circumstances of your claim for Waiver of Premium Benefits.” (Doc. 16-13). The Court has no
information that would indicate that a breach of contract action may have accrued before that time.
Since the Patels’ instant action was filed in November of 2010, the Court cannot find that the Patels’
Amended Complaint should be dismissed as timebarred. The Court finds, however, that dismissal
is appropriate for other reasons as set forth below.
The Patels allege that “despite repeated demands . . . New York Life refused to honor the
waiver of premium benefit and therefore, breached the contract.” (Doc. 16, para. 21). However, it
appears from the face of the pleadings, through the exhibits attached to the Patels’ Amended
Complaint, that New York Life did, in fact, respond to the Patels’ demands - approving benefits
under one policy, and rescinding – in the remaining two policies – the provision that the Patels
contend were breached. In a letter dated August 8, 2008, the Patels were informed by a New York
Life representative that waiver of premium benefits could be approved for one of the three policies.
(Doc. 16-13). As to the other two policies, however, the Patels were informed that there was a
concern about Mrs. Patel’s failure to disclose certain medical information on the applications for
those policies. Id. The Patels were asked to advise New York Life if there was any reason as to why
the information was not disclosed. Id. In another letter attached to the Amended Complaint, the
Patels were later advised by a New York Life representative that “New York Life Insurance
Company must rescind the Disability Waiver of Premium Riders” under the remaining two polices
in question. (Doc. 16-14). The letter further states “[t]his action is being taken because, in your
application for these policies, you omitted material information concerning your medical history.”
Id. The Patels do not allege that New York Life breached any of the policies by rescinding the
Disability Waiver of Premium Provision (or by approving benefits for one policy).
The Patels allege no facts in their Amended Complaint as to how New York Life’s response
to their demands was a breach of contract. The Patels have also failed to respond to the motions to
dismiss filed by the Defendants to provide any further explanation to the Court as to how their claim
for breach of contract may be able to survive despite their failure to allege such facts. It is not
sufficient for the Patels to simply allege that Jaswanti Patel became disabled and that a breach of
contract occurred due to New York Life’s failure to waive the premium. The exhibits referred to, and
attached to, the Amended Complaint reveal, on their face, that New York Life responded to the
Patels’ complaints according to the provisions of their policies. The Patels’ allegation that New
York Life, instead, breached the policies is not sufficient to state a claim for breach of contract. “[A]
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Additionally, pleadings that contain mere “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of the cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Here, the Court finds that the Patels’ Amended Complaint does not contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for breach of contract that is plausible on
its face.1 The Court finds, therefore, that the Patels’ Amended Complaint should be DISMISSED.
For the reasons set forth above, the Court hereby ORDERS that Defendant Trivedi’s first
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 14) be DISMISSED AS MOOT.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant New York Life’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19)
be GRANTED and Defendant Trivedi’s second Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21) be GRANTED and this
matter be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim.
A separate Judgment will be entered contemporaneously herewith.
The Court notes that it cannot readily discern a cognizable cause of action for breach of
contract against Defendant Trivedi in the allegations contained in the Amended Complaint.
However, assuming the Patels do allege a cognizable claim against Trivedi, any such claim is subject
to dismissal due to the Patels’ general failure to allege sufficient facts to state a claim for breach of
IT IS SO ORDERED this 7th day of May, 2012.
/s/P. K. Holmes, III
P.K. HOLMES, III
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?