United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
STEPHANIE D. VAUGHN, Plaintiff,
AETNA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Aetna Life Insurance
Company's (“Aetna”) Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint and to Strike Plaintiff's Jury
Demand  and Partial Motion to Dismiss Count II of
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint for Breach of
Fiduciary Duties . Also before the Court is Plaintiff
Stephanie D. Vaughn's (“Vaughn”) Motion for
Leave to Add a Party .
is the daughter of James Sheffield (“Sheffield”),
deceased, and the named beneficiary of Sheffield's life
insurance. ( ¶¶ 4, 8). At the time of his death
on October 24, 2012, Sheffield was an employee of Lafarge
North America Inc. (“Lafarge”), and he
participated in a life insurance policy plan (“the
Plan”) sponsored and administered by Lafarge.
(Id. ¶¶ 6-7). Sheffield was, at the time
of his death, on approved disability. (Id. ¶
Plan was a part of Sheffield's employment benefit package
and was issued by Aetna. (Id. ¶ 7). Sheffield
continuously carried the life insurance and made premium
contributions until his death. (Id.). According to
the annual personal benefits information as of July 5, 2011,
Sheffield had both basic and supplemental life-insurance
coverage with total coverage amounts of $330, 000.
Sheffield's death, Aetna furnished Vaughn with
Sheffield's basic life-insurance benefits of $130, 000,
but denied her claim as to his supplemental life-insurance
benefits of $200, 000 because of the lack of medical evidence
to support a permanent and total disability. (Id.
Complaint alleges that Sheffield “had cardiovascular
disease, ” which caused “angina and mental
atrophy” and “other documented debilitating and
incapacitating physical and mental conditions[, ] which
caused him to leave his employment on August 6, 2010.”
(Id. ¶ 10). The Complaint alleges that
Sheffield was “permanently and totally disabled”
under the Plan. (Id.).
March 11, 2016, Vaughn filed her original Complaint alleging
breach of contract and other state law claims arising under a
contract of supplemental life insurance. On April 5, 2016,
Aetna removed, to this Court, the action filed in the State
Court of Fulton County. (). On April 6, 2016, Aetna moved
to dismiss the original Complaint and to strike
Plaintiff's jury demand because the Plan was issued under
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
(“ERISA”) and thus is governed by ERISA. ().
5, 2016, Vaughn filed her First Amended Complaint
(“Complaint”) to conform with the requirements of
ERISA and requested leave to add Lafarge as a party. (,
). The Complaint alleges that Aetna failed to pay Vaughn
supplemental life-insurance benefits under the ERISA plan
(Count I) and that Aetna and Lafarge breached their fiduciary
duties (Count II). ( at 5, 7). On May 23, 2016, Aetna
moved to dismiss Count II of Vaughn's Complaint. ().
Aetna's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Original
Complaint and to Strike Plaintiff's Jury Demand
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
plaintiff to file one amended complaint as a matter of
course, if the amended complaint is filed either within
twenty-one (21) days of service of the original complaint or
within twenty-one (21) days of the defendant's filing of
a responsive pleading or Rule 12 motion to dismiss.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). Amended complaints outside of these
time limits may be ...