United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff John Hancock Life
Insurance Company (USA)'s (“Plaintiff”)
Motion for Summary Judgment .
August 1, 1984, Plaintiff issued an annuity
(“Annuity”) to Defendant William Andrews
(“Mr. Andrews”). (Plaintiff's Statement of
Material Facts [53.2] (“PSMF”) ¶ 3; [11.1]
at 1). The Annuity required Plaintiff to pay Mr.
Andrews $200, 000 a year for thirty years, beginning on
August 1, 1996, and ending on August 1, 2025. ([11.1] at 1).
On October 5, 1999, Mr. Andrews sold to Settlement Capital
Corporation (“Settlement Capital”) his right to
receive future payments under the Annuity for the
thirteen-year period of August 2001 through August 2014 (the
“Initial Annuity Payment Agreement”). (PSMF
¶¶ 1, 8).
February 12, 2001, Mr. Andrews entered into a second
agreement with Settlement Capital to sell his remaining
future payments under the Annuity (the “Second Annuity
Payment Agreement” or “SAPA”). (PSMF
¶¶ 2, 6). Under the SAPA, Mr. Andrews sold to
Settlement Capital his Annuity payments for the period of
August 2015 through August 2025 (the “Annuity
Payments”), in return for an immediate lump sum of
$250, 000. (PSMF ¶¶ 2-4). The SAPA explains the
consequences of the transaction to Mr. Andrews:
[Mr. Andrews] shall not have any further interest in or
rights to the Annuity, the Assigned Receivable Payments or
any other payments due in connection with the Annuity. . . .
[Mr. Andrews] does hereby absolutely sell, assign, transfer,
set over and convey to Purchaser, free and clear of any liens
or encumbrances, all of [Mr. Andrews'] right, title, and
interest in, to, and under the Assigned Receivable Payments.
. . . This Agreement and the Transaction Documents may be
amended, modified, superseded or canceled, or any of the
terms, provisions, representations, warranties, covenants or
conditions hereof or thereof may be waived only by written
instrument signed by all parties hereto.
(PSMF ¶ 8). Mr. Andrews received the immediate lump sum
payment of $250, 000 required to be paid by Settlement
Capital. (PSMF ¶ 5).
February 20, 2001, JRH Capital Corporation
(“JRH”) purchased from Settlement Capital the
right to receive the Annuity Payments. (PSMF ¶
The agreement by which JRH purchased the Annuity Payments
listed JRH's address as “John Hancock Life
Insurance Company, 200 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02117,
Attn: Bond & Corporate Finance.” (PSMF ¶ 12).
with the Initial Annuity Payment Agreement, Mr. Andrews did
not receive any Annuity payments from 2001 through 2014.
(PSMF ¶ 26). In January 2015, about six months before
the first Annuity Payment was required to be made to JRH,
Plaintiff mistakenly mailed an annual statement of Annuity
payments to “William Andrews, Attn: Bond & Corporate
Finance, Clarendon Street, Boston, MA.” (PSMF ¶
11). The annual statement was returned as undeliverable.
(PSMF ¶ 13). Plaintiff's Returned Mail Team ran a
LEXIS Accurint report to identify Mr. Andrews' current
address. (PSMF ¶ 14). LEXIS Accurint returned a Georgia
address for Mr. Andrews. (PSMF ¶ 15).
early June 2015, the Returned Mail Team sent an address
confirmation letter to Mr. Andrews at the Georgia address
provided by LEXIS Accurint. (PSMF ¶15). On June 15,
2015, Mr. Andrews called Plaintiff's customer service
department to discuss the letter. (PSMF ¶ 16). Mr.
Andrews told the customer service representative to send the
Annuity Payments to the address they had for him in Georgia.
(PSMF ¶ 18). The representative updated Plaintiff's
system to reflect Mr. Andrews' Georgia address. (PSMF
¶¶ 17-18). Plaintiff sent Mr. Andrews a letter
confirming the change in address to which the Annuity
Payments would be sent. (PSMF ¶ 20). There is no
evidence that Mr. Andrews told the representative he
previously sold, and thus no longer had a right to receive,
the Annuity Payments. (PSMF ¶ 19).
August 1, 2015, Plaintiff mailed Mr. Andrews a check for
$188, 490 (the “Funds”). (PSMF ¶
Mr. Andrews immediately endorsed the check to his wife,
Defendant Gladys Andrews (“Mrs. Andrews”). (PSMF
¶¶ 23-24). He did not receive consideration for
this payment to Mrs. Andrews. (PSMF ¶ 24). At the time
of the transfer, Mr. Andrews owned no assets “other
than [his] clothing.” (PSMF ¶ 25).
August 4, 2015, Mrs. Andrews opened a Platinum Savings
Account at Wells Fargo Bank (the “Platinum
Account”) into which she immediately deposited the
Funds. (PSMF ¶ 27). From August 12, 2015, through August
27, 2015, Mrs. Andrews withdrew $4, 100 in cash and
transferred $22, 240 to her checking account (the
“Checking Account”). (PSMF ¶ 29; [25.5] at
August 27, 2015, Plaintiff called Mr. Andrews, told him the
Funds were sent to him in error, and asked him to return the
Funds immediately. (PSMF ¶¶ 30, 32). Mr. Andrews
said he intended to review the terms of the SAPA before
returning the Funds. (PSMF ¶ 32). On August 31, 2015,
Mrs. Andrews transferred another $2, 150 from her Platinum
Account to her Checking Account. (PSMF ¶ 29; [25.5] at
September 1, 2015, Plaintiff sent Mr. Andrews a letter
explaining the error and requesting “full
reimbursement” of the Funds within thirty days. (PSMF
¶ 33; [11.3]). The letter stated that, unless the Funds
were returned by the end of 2015, Plaintiff was
“required to report the overpayment to the Internal
Revenue Service (IRS) as a distribution in [Mr. Andrews']
name.” ([11.3] at 3). Two days later, on September 3,
2015, Mrs. Andrews transferred $5, 000 from her Platinum
Account to her Checking Account. ([25.5] at 27).
September 16, 2015, Plaintiff called Mr. Andrews and left him
a voicemail. ([11.3] at 4). Mr. Andrews did not return the
call. ([11.3] at 4). On September 21, 2015, Plaintiff sent
Mr. Andrews another letter, attaching a copy of the SAPA and
demanding repayment of the Funds. (PSMF ¶ 33; [11.3]).
The letter stated that Plaintiff would initiate legal
proceedings if Mr. Andrews did not return the Funds by
October 1, 2015. ([11.3] at 5). On September 22, 2015,
Plaintiff's counsel called Mr. Andrews and again demanded
payment. (PSMF ¶ 36). Mr. Andrews said he had spoken to
counsel about Plaintiff's request. (PSMF ¶ 36). He
did not agree to return the Funds. Two days later, Mrs.
Andrews transferred another $5, 000 from her Platinum Account
to her Checking Account. ([25.5] at 27).
October 2015, Mrs. Andrews made five cash withdrawals,
totaling $44, 000, from her Platinum Account. (PSMF ¶
38). The same month, she transferred $21, 000 from her
Platinum Account to her Checking Account. ([25.5] at 40).
From August 12, 2015, through October 22, 2015, she withdrew
from her Platinum Account, or transferred to her Checking
Account, a total of $103, 490. (PSMF ¶
October 22, 2015, Plaintiff filed its Verified Complaint on
Claim for Debt  (“Complaint”) naming Mr.
Andrews as a defendant. The Complaint sought repayment of the
Funds plus interest, and litigation expenses under O.C.G.A.
§ 13-6-11. On October 22, 2015, Plaintiff also filed its
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Request for a
Preliminary Injunction , seeking a temporary restraining
order (“TRO”) “restraining and enjoining
[Mr. Andrews] from spending, depleting, or otherwise
disposing of the funds he has received by mistake.”
([2.1] at 1-2).
November 4, 2015, Mrs. Andrews made a cash withdrawal of $18,
000 from her Platinum Account. (PSMF ¶ 43). On November
6, 2015, Plaintiff filed its Amended Complaint on Claim for
Debt and Injunctive Relief  (“Amended
Complaint”), adding Mrs. Andrews as a
defendant and asserting claims for unjust enrichment
(Count 1), conversion (Count 2), money had and received
(Count 3), imposition of a constructive trust (Count 4),
relief under Georgia's Uniform Voidable Transactions Act
(“UVTA”), O.C.G.A. § 18-2-70 et
seq. (Count 5), injunctive relief (Count 6), and
attorney's fees under O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11 (Count 7).
On November 6, 2015, Plaintiff amended its TRO motion to
reflect the changes in its Amended Complaint, including the
addition of Mrs. Andrews as a named defendant. ().
November 9, 2015, the Court held a hearing on Plaintiff's
request for a TRO. (). The Court declined to issue a TRO
because Plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence in
support of its requested relief. The Court suggested that
Defendants' counsel advise Defendants to refrain from
spending the Funds. The Court ordered the parties to engage
in expedited discovery so that Plaintiff could promptly
determine if there was evidence warranting a motion for
preliminary injunctive relief. (See November 10,
2015, Order by Docket Entry;  at 4).
November 9, 2015, through November 20, 2015, Mrs. Andrews
transferred $17, 000 from her Platinum Account to her
Checking Account. (PSMF ¶ 45; [27.1]). In November 2015,
she withdrew approximately $13, 400 from her Checking Account
and spent approximately $3, 600 in a single Wal-Mart
transaction, $1, 200 in a Lowe's transaction, $2, 000 on
the Atlanta Falcons, and $1, 500 at department stores such as
Dillard's and Von Mauer. (PSMF ¶ 46).
December 2, 2015, Defendants filed counterclaims against
Plaintiff for negligent misrepresentation (Count 1), breach
of the duty of good faith and fair dealing (Count 2), and
promissory estoppel (Count 3). ( at 6-8). Defendants
claim that “Plaintiff negligently supplied [Mr.
Andrews] with false information that he was entitled to
receive [the Funds], ” and that Mr. Andrews
“reasonably relied on this representation and endorsed
the proceeds to his wife.” ( at 7). Defendants ask
the Court to enter judgment in their favor, against
Plaintiff, in the amount of $188, 490 plus interest. ( at
December 3, 2015, Plaintiff filed its Renewed Motion for a
Preliminary Injunction . On December 7, 2015, the Court
conducted a telephone conference with the parties. ().
During the conference, Defendants' counsel confirmed that
he told Mrs. Andrews the Court would “frown upon”
her continued expenditure of the Funds. ( at 5). The next
day, the Court issued a TRO enjoining Defendants “from
accessing, spending, transferring, withdrawing, or otherwise
dissipating the Funds.” ( at 10). The Court also
ordered Defendants to deposit any remaining Funds into the
Registry of the Court. ( at 10). On December 9, 2015,
Defendants deposited $50, 005.17 into the Court Registry.
(See December 10, 2015, Docket Entry; PSMF ¶
December 22, 2015, the Court held a hearing on
Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
(). The next day, the Court granted the motion and
enjoined Defendants from “accessing, spending,
transferring, encumbering, withdrawing, or otherwise
dissipating the Funds, or any property purchased with the
Funds.” ( at 10). The Court found that, under the
SAPA, Mr. Andrews “unequivocal[ly] . . . relinquished
any right to the Annuity Payments.” ( at 6). The
Court stated “[i]t is incredulous that Mr. Andrews
believed that he was entitled to an ...