Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company et al v. Rex, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER..IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED without prejudice. A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Registry of the Court shall remain in possession of the $1 million policy proceeds pending Acuitys appeal of the Courts decisions. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 3/9/18. (MRS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ACUITY, A MUTUAL INSURANCE
REX, LLC, TABB ROBERT BARKS,
RONALD LEE GEAN, ESTATE OF
JEAN CAROL GEAN, SWIFT
TRANSPORTATION CO. OF
ARIZONA, LLC, GAGANJOT SINGH
VIRK, AUTO-OWNERS INSURANCE
COMPANY, AIR EVAC EMS, INC.,
DEACONESS HOSPITAL, INC.,
HEARTLAND REGIONAL MEDICAL
CENTER, ZURICH AMERICAN
INSURANCE COMPANY, and
GALLAGHER BASSETT SERVICES,
Case No. 1:16-cv-300-AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Acuity, A Mutual Insurance
Company’s response to the Court’s Order to show cause regarding whether any “actual
controversy” remains, and Acuity’s and request concerning handling of its $1 million
policy proceeds. ECF No. 53. In this action, Acuity seeks a declaratory judgment
regarding whether the insurance proceeds payable as the result of a vehicle accident are
subject to stacking. On February 6, 2018, the Court dismissed Defendants Ronald Lee
Gean and the Estate of Jean Carol Gean (“the Geans”) for lack of personal jurisdiction.
ECF No. 52. The Court then ordered Acuity to show cause in writing why the lawsuit
should not be dismissed for lack of an actual controversy. Id.
Acuity responds that there remains an actual controversy in this case because
Defendant Rex, LLC, believes that Acuity’s policy stacks so as to afford $21 million in
coverage. However, Acuity concedes that in light of the Court’s order dismissing the
Geans, the Court cannot fully decide the coverage controversy and provide the relief
sought by Acuity because the Geans are necessary parties to this litigation. Acuity states
that in the absence of the Geans as parties, there is nothing further for the Court to decide,
and Acuity seeks the issuance of a final order. However, Acuity requests that the
Registry of the Court remain in possession of the $1 million policy proceeds deposited in
this case pending Acuity’s appeal of the Court’s decisions.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 provides the framework for determining
whether a case must be dismissed for failure to join a necessary party. The Court must
first determine whether a party is necessary to the action and if that party may be joined.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a). If the party cannot be joined, the Court must then determine
whether the party is “indispensable to the action.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(b). A party is
indispensable where the Court cannot proceed in equity and good conscience with the
parties before the Court. Id.
Here, the Geans cannot be joined because this Court cannot exercise personal
jurisdiction over Acuity’s claims against them. However, the Geans are indispensable
parties to this action due to their assertion that Acuity’s policy stacks in the parallel
proceeding in Illinois state court. As a result, the relief sought by Acuity from this Court
necessarily requires the inclusion of the Geans in this lawsuit. Thus, the Court cannot
equitably proceed with the parties before the Court. Therefore, as requested by Acuity,
the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED without prejudice.
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Registry of the Court shall remain in
possession of the $1 million policy proceeds pending Acuity’s appeal of the Court’s
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 9th day of March, 2018.
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