State Farm Life Insurance Company v. Jefferson et al

Filing 63

ORDER denying as moot 38 Motion to Strike; denying 40 Motion to Strike; denying 51 Motion to Stay; granting 52 Motion for Extension of Time. All motions, except motions in limine, are due within 14 days from the date of this order. Signed by Chief Judge J. Randal Hall on 07/28/2017. (thb)

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IN FOR THE UNITED THE STATES DISTRICT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF COURT GEORGIA AUGUSTA DIVISION STATE FARM LIFE INSURANCE * COMPANY, * Plaintiff, * * CV 116-085 LATASHA JEFFERSON, DAVID TURNER, VALERIE SMITH, and BEVERLY WILCHER WHITAKER, * Defendants. * ORDER David filed Turner, three strike1 motions (doc. 40); Valerie with (2) Smith, the Court: a motion motion for an extension of time and (1) to stay (doc. 52). Beverly an Whitaker amended (doc. 51); have motion and (3) to a The Court DENIES the motion to strike and motion to stay and GRANTS the motion for an extension of time. I. Defendants in this life-insurance Background case are fighting over Michael Turner's proceeds. Before his death, Turner named Defendant Latasha Jefferson as the sole beneficiary of his State 1 Their original motion to strike (doc. 38) is DENIED AS MOOT. Farm life-insurance policy. Defendants ("the David Turner, siblings'') , Turner to remove (Doc. 1 SI 26.) Valerie contend them as that to his and Jefferson Beverly Whitaker improperly beneficiaries. passed away in April 2016, entitlement Smith, Turner's siblings, (Id. SI induced 36.) Turner and Jefferson and the siblings claim insurance proceeds. State Farm filed this during her interpleader action to resolve the dispute. These parties deposition, asked by been of a convicted 40-1 convicted at of of that offenses and the or siblings arrested, driving and failing to other Jefferson possession a fine stated crimes. of she (Id. at convicted drugs. Counsel been she had and that she had that she 26.) been ever that for that had When said license pay the She had whether Jefferson without 26-27.) any however, for crime been arrested for (Doc. discovery, Jefferson misrepresented her criminal history. counsel convicted conducted had It of for conviction. not been turns out, other the traffic siblings discovered some of these charges through his own investigation, and Jefferson admitted some in written discovery, which was served after her deposition. II. Discussion The siblings ask the Court to because this (1) of Jefferson's misstatement case pending the resolution strike Jefferson's answer in her deposition, of litigation (2) stay concerning Turner's estate in the Richmond County Probate Court, and (3) extend the deadline for filing motions in this case. A. Motion to Strike Because the Court Jefferson should Jefferson's litigation Physicians, (11th Cir. restraint "perjured use its answer. LLC v. 2009) . and SRG would behavior. See Supp. 1408 1390, Although her See id. not also failed to strike 561 Eagle F.3d for Hosp. 1298, 1306 is when the Court makes a appropriate Inc. only punish v. when or a deter Citi-Chem, lesser the Inc., bad 992 F. (S.D. Ga. 1998). the discovery criminal history. to The striking of an answer is a sufficiently Jefferson deposition, argue, sanctions power." Inc., only misstated her criminal siblings have not intentionally or in bad faith. written power impose inherent and id. ; Chemtall, her deposition, may siblings But the Court must exercise this power "with that punishment its the sanction Consulting, discretion" sanction court under finding of bad faith. severe inherent "A misconduct herself," which Jefferson provided (See Doc. show that shown that Indeed, requests, were during she did so when she responded to not more lesser served until detail 53-4 at 6-7.) a history after about her The siblings have sanction sufficiently punish or deter the behavior. would Accordingly, not the Court DENIES the siblings' motion to strike Jefferson's answer. B. Motion to Stay The the siblings resolution Richmond also County Court litigation of ask the over Probate Court. to stay this Turner's Jefferson have petitioned Without citing that any court law, the appropriate because if is made "found Court or would be to have the remove any Ad in the apparently been and the siblings from contend removed as that that in appointed this case in position. a stay is administrator or misrepresentation Litem evidence her siblings Jefferson is Guardian admissible to pending estate has appointed the administrator of Turner's estate, case to the that which Probate case, would that show her motivation in seeking a change of beneficiary designation on the late Mr. Turner's life insurance policy." The Court has the discretion to (Doc. stay cases "as an incident to its power to control its own docket." 520 U.S. 681, should be 706 (1997). amount Co. Commc'ns, Inc., The Court is of See Clinton v. Jones, A stay may not be immoderate: granted only for unreasonable 51 at 2-3.) good reason and should not time. See 221 F.3d 1262, unconvinced Ortega 1264 that it Trujillo (11th Cir. should v. a stay last an Conover & 2000). stay this case pending the resolution of the litigation in the Probate Court. As an initial matter, indication as to how requested stay for the siblings long that an have not provided any litigation may last, making the indefinite period of time. And more important, may arise example, the siblings from that the the contend estate only that litigation. resolution of admissible They that matter do not evidence argue, would help for dispose of any issues in this case or otherwise expedite its resolution. Accordingly, the Court DENIES the siblings' motion to stay. C. Motion for an Extension of Time The which All siblings were due motions, also July except request additional 3, 2017. motions The in time Court limine, to GRANTS are now file motions, this due request. within 14 days from the date of this order. Ill. In and sum, the Beverly motion to extension limine, Court Whitaker's stay of time (doc. (doc. Conclusion DENIES amended 51) David motion and 52) . Turner's, to GRANTS All Valerie strike their motions, (doc. motion except Smith's, 40) and for an motions in are due within 14 days from the date of this order. ORDER ENTERED at Augusta, Georgia this &o^ day of July, 2017. J. RA^D^L HALL, CHIEF JUDGE unitedTstates DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

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