United States District Court, D. Idaho
FAISAL F. AMANATULLAH, M.D., Plaintiff,
THE UNITED STATES LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, AIG BENEFIT SOLUTIONS, AIG AFFINTITY BENEFIT SOLUTIONS, AMERICANINTERNATIONAL GROUP, INC. AND AMERICAN GENERAL LIFE COMPANIES, LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Edward J. Lodge United States District Judge
before the Court in the above-entitled matter are Plaintiff
Faisal F. Amanatullah, M.D. (Amanatullah)'s Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 18), Defendants The United
States Life Insurance Company of the City of New York, AIG
Benefit Solutions, AIG Affinity Benefit Solutions, American
International Group, Inc. and American General Life
Companies, LLC's (collectively referred to as
“Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt.
23) and related motions to strike filed by both parties
(Dkts. 27, 28, 36, and 39). Plaintiff also filed motions
relating to punitive damages and non-economic damage caps.
(Dkts. 50, 51, and 52).
fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and
legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and
record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further
delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the
decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral
argument, this matter shall be decided on the record before
this Court without oral argument.
because this matter is set for trial in the near future, the
Court finds it would be an efficient use of limited judicial
resources to remove the referral to the Magistrate Judge for
certain motions that are more properly handled by the
presiding judge. Therefore, the Court withdraws the referral
on docket numbers 27, 28, 36, 39, 50, 51, and 52.
purchased a disability insurance policy from Defendants on
February 19, 1987, Policy No. G-189, 553, Certificate No.
2328149 (the Policy). Amantullah became totally disabled
before his 50th birthday. The Policy provided
Plaintiff with a monthly benefit of $5, 000. Plaintiff
maintains the Policy provides this $5, 000 monthly benefit
for his lifetime. Defendants claim the Policy reduces the
disability payment to the greater of $1, 000 or 25% of the
monthly benefit on the certificate anniversary following
Amanatullah's 65th birthday. In this case,
Defendants argue the reduced benefit would be $1, 250.
If you are disabled on your 65th birthday your Monthly
Benefit will reduce on the earlier of these dates: (a) your
certificate anniversary next following your 65th birthday, if
such Monthly Benefit payments have been received for 12 or
more months, or (b) on the dale you have received 12 Monthly
Benefit payments for the then current disability.
Any other decrease in the amount of insurance will take
effect on the date of receipt by the authorized agent of the
Policyholder of your written request for the decrease.
See Complaint, Exhibit A, G-19001 SCH,, Dkt. 1-1,
p.7. The “Monthly Benefit” of $5, 000 comes from
Exhibit A, G 19001 SCH, Dkt. 1-1, p.1. The Schedule Page also
states the Monthly Benefit Amount is $5, 000. Id.
November of 2008, Plaintiff spoke with John Butryman, Senior
Case Manager for Defendants to confirm his monthly payment
was a lifetime benefit as Plaintiff was obtaining a mortgage
and needed to provide proof of his income. Mr. Butryman
orally confirmed the monthly benefit was a lifetime benefit
and sent a letter to Amanatullah stating:
We are writing to you in response to our phone conversation
today. This letter is to confirm you currently receive $5,
000 per month, post tax under the following disability
policy. Since your disability began prior to the age of 50,
your policy states you are eligible to receive this monthly
benefit for as long as you live and as long as you continue
to satisfy the provisions of this policy.
of Faisal F. Amanatullah, M.D., Exhibit B, Dkt. 19-2.
claims he relied on this letter as proof he would be
receiving the $5, 000 benefit for the rest of his life and
took out a mortgage and made other purchases relying on this
stream of income.
March of 2014, Plaintiff spoke with Senior Claims Manager
Bernadine Luddy as he had not received his monthly benefit
check. He was advised the check had been sent to his ex-wife
instead of Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges Ms. Luddy became
hostile toward him when he notified Defendants of the error.
Ms. Luddy also indicated she would be reviewing the file and
that his benefit would be reduced in September 2014.
Defendants reduced Plaintiff's benefit to $1, 250 on
September 1, 2014.
March and November of 2014, Plaintiff continued to try to
explain his position and have Defendants reinstate his $5,
000 monthly payment. Defendants did not change their
position. Plaintiff filed his Complaint on February 23, 2015
alleging bad faith, breach of contract, promissory estoppel
and negligent adjustment. Plaintiff moves for summary
judgment on the breach of contract claims and Defendants move
for summary judgment on all claims.
judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to
any claim or defense, “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One
of the principal purposes of the summary judgment “is
to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . .
.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323-24 (1986). It is “not a disfavored procedural
shortcut, ” but is instead the “principal tool[ ]
by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be
isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant
unwarranted consumption of public and private
resources.” Id. at 327.
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be
no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48
(1986). Material facts are those that may affect the
outcome of the case. See id. at 248.
moving party is entitled to summary judgment if that party
shows that each issue of material fact is not or cannot be
disputed. To show the material facts are not in dispute, a
party may cite to particular parts of materials in the
record, or show that the materials cited do not establish the
presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party is
unable to produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)&(B); see T.W. Elec. Serv.,
Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d
626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S.
at 322). The Court must consider “the cited materials,
” but it may also consider “other materials in
the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).
used to support or dispute a fact must be “presented in
a form that would be admissible in evidence.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). Affidavits or declarations submitted
in support of or opposition to a motion “must be made
on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible
in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is
competent to testify on the matters stated.”
Court does not determine the credibility of affiants or weigh
the evidence set forth by the non-moving party. All
inferences which can be drawn from the evidence must be drawn
in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W.
Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 630-31 (internal citation
56(e)(3) authorizes the Court to grant summary judgment for
the moving party “if the motion and supporting
materials-including the facts considered undisputed-show that
the movant is entitled to it.” The existence of a
scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving
party's position is insufficient. Rather, “there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
the [non-moving party].” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. at 252.
of Contract Claim
are cross motions for summary judgment on the breach of
contract claim, Plaintiffs argues the language of the Policy
provides for a lifetime benefit of $5, 000 or in the
alternative that the Policy is ambiguous and must be
construed in the insured's favor. Defendants argue the
Policy is not ambiguous and clearly sets forth there is a
reduction in benefits when insured reach a certain age.
Additionally, Defendants argue an employee of Defendants
cannot modify the terms of a policy so any statements by Mr.
Butryman are not binding on Defendants.
argue the choice of law provision in the Master Policy
governs even if the insured resides outside the designated
state. Defendants claim the Master Policy is attached as Ex.
A to the Luddy Declaration, Dkt. 23-7. This includes one page
identifying the policy is Group Policy No. G-189, ...