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Eller v. EquiTrust Life Insurance Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 24, 2015

MARY HELEN ELLER, Plaintiff, and PAUL HARRINGTON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
EQUITRUST LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: December 11, 2014.

Page 1090

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. 4:09-cv-00029-DCB. D.C. No. 4:09-cv-00029-DCB. David C. Bury, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

RICO

The panel affirmed the district court's summary judgment and vacated its denial of costs in a putative class action alleging violations of federal and state law in the sale of annuities.

Affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant on a RICO claim, the panel held that the plaintiff failed to establish any actionable predicate acts in alleged fraudulent schemes concerning the promise of premium bonuses, the application of the annuity's market value adjustment, or the circumvention of state nonforfeiture laws. The panel also affirmed the district court's summary judgment on state-law claims.

Vacating the unexplained denial of costs, the panel remanded to allow the district court either to award costs or to state its reasons for denying them.

Steve W. Berman (argued), Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Seattle, Washington; Elaine T. Byszewski, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Pasadena, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Margaret A. Grignon (argued), Robert D. Phillips, Jr., Brandon W. Corbridge, Reed Smith LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Raymond C. Fisher, and Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Hurwitz.

OPINION

Page 1091

Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judge:

I. Introduction

This is a putative class action against EquiTrust Life Insurance Company (" EquiTrust" ), alleging violations of federal and state law in the sale of annuities. The district court granted EquiTrust's motion for summary judgment, but, without explanation, declined to award costs to the prevailing party. We affirm the summary judgment, but vacate the denial of ...


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