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Holliday v. Syndicate 3000 at Lloyds

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

May 15, 2018

SYNDICATE 3000 at LLOYD'S, UNDERWRITERS AT, LONDON, and their appointees, assigns, and affiliates, Defendant.



         This matter comes before the Court pursuant to Defendant Markel Syndicate 3000's Motion to Dismiss the Third Amended Complaint (Doc. # 42), filed on April 26, 2018. Pro se Plaintiff Clyde J. Holliday, III, responded on May 11, 2018. (Doc. # 47). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted and the case is dismissed.

         I. Background

         On August 29, 2017, Holliday filed his Complaint against Defendant Lloyds Syndicate 3000 at Lloyds, London. (Doc. # 1). The Complaint was “a filled-in form provided by the Clerk's Office with only a single sentence outlining the basis and nature of Holliday's claim.” (Doc. # 3 at 4). The Court dismissed the Complaint as “a shotgun pleading to which Defendant cannot be expected to respond” because it was “unclear what causes of action [were] being asserted and the factual basis for those claims.” (Id. at 5). Holliday then filed his Amended Complaint on October 2, 2017, naming “Lloyd's, Underwriters at, London” as the sole defendant. (Doc. # 9). Again, Holliday's statement of his claim was a single sentence, so the Court dismissed the Amended Complaint with leave to amend on October 11, 2017. (Doc. # 9).

         Holliday then filed the Second Amended Complaint against “Lloyd's, Underwriters at, London” on October 25, 2017. (Doc. # 12). The Second Amended Complaint asserted four counts, entitled “Breach of Agreement, ” “Computer Records Theft, ” “Concealment of Records and Fraud, ” and “False Reporting and Slander.” (Id.). Lloyd's moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint, (Doc. # 25), and the Court granted the motion on December 28, 2017. (Doc. # 35). The Court noted that Lloyd's Underwriters at London is merely an “international insurance market, ” and that individual syndicates at Lloyd's actually do the business of selling insurance. (Id. at 6). Additionally, in granting leave to amend, the Court explained that “the claims appear time-barred as pled” and that Holliday needed to plead “allegations supporting the application of the discovery rule to toll the statute of limitations” rather than baldly asserting the discovery rule applied. (Id. at 9).

         Subsequently, Holliday filed his Third Amended Complaint, asserting the same four counts, “Breach of Agreement, ” “Computer Records Theft, ” “Concealment of Records and Fraud, ” and “False Reporting and Slander, ” against “Syndicate 3000 at Lloyd's, Underwriters at London and their appointees, assigns, and affiliates.” (Doc. # 36). The Third Amended Complaint clarifies that “Syndicate 3000” is, in fact, Markel Syndicate 3000. (Id. at 1). Holliday alleges he was a “licensed surplus lines [insurance] agent” working in Florida until October of 2008. (Id. at 3). At that time, Markel Syndicate 3000 “terminat[ed] the surplus lines agent's authority to quote, and sell policies of insurance” without cause, causing Holliday to lose business. (Id. at 5, 8-9). Finally, Markel Syndicate 3000 allegedly slandered Holliday through its “false and malicious reporting of a felony . . . for which [Holliday and his son] were arrested and indicted with a First Degree Felony by the Polk County State Attorney.” (Id. at 7-8). Those charges were dismissed three years later. (Id. at 8).

         Regarding the statute of limitations, the Third Amended Complaint states that Holliday's claims are “not time barred as Florida Statutes specifically state that where a ‘person having a right to possession of property makes a demand for its return, and the property is not relinquished a wrongful conversion of funds has occurred.” (Id. at 6-7). Holliday alleges that the statute of limitations period for his claims is “12 years from the date of discovery.” (Id. at 7).

         As the Court had previously done (Doc. ## 5, 10), on March 26, 2018, the Court reminded Holliday of his responsibility to properly serve Syndicate 3000 in the manner prescribed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4. (Doc. # 37). At Holliday's request, the Court later granted an extension of time “to serve Syndicate 3000 at Lloyd's, Underwriters at London, with a summons and a copy of the Third Amended Complaint as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.” (Doc. # 39). The Court again advised Holliday “to familiarize himself with the service requirements of Rule 4.” (Id.).

         Markel Syndicate 3000 filed its Motion to Dismiss the Third Amended Complaint on April 26, 2018, arguing that it was improperly served and that Holliday's claims are time-barred. (Doc. # 42). Holliday has responded, (Doc. # 47), and the Motion is ripe for review.

         II. Legal Standard

         The Court construes pro se pleadings liberally and holds them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003). But, “a pro se litigant is still required to conform to procedural rules, and a district judge is not required to rewrite a deficient pleading.” McFarlin v. Douglas County, 587 Fed.Appx. 593, 595 (11th Cir. 2014).

         On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), this Court accepts as true all the allegations in the complaint and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004). Further, this Court favors the plaintiff with all reasonable inferences from the allegations in the complaint. Stephens v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990). But,

[w]hile a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(internal citations omitted). Courts are not “bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). “The scope of review must be limited to the four corners of the complaint” and attached ...

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