United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
GREGORY A. PRESNELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court without a hearing on the Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 36) filed by Defendant Allianz Life
Insurance Company of North America (henceforth,
“Allianz”), the response in opposition (Doc. 42)
filed by the Plaintiff, the Estate of Richard Brookes Hibbard
(the “Estate”), and the reply (Doc. 48) to that
response from Allianz.
Brookes Hibbard died on October 3, 2016. At the time of his
death, he was a resident of Florida. Shortly thereafter, his
estate was opened in Volusia County. Five years earlier, he
had purchased an annuity from Defendant Allianz Life
Insurance Company of North America (“Allianz”),
naming his then-wife, Jeanne Hibbard, as the beneficiary. In
July 2013, the Hibbards were divorced in New Hampshire.
Brookes Hibbard never changed the beneficiary designation on
the annuity. Shortly after his death, Allianz paid
approximately $97, 000 in death benefits to Jeanne Hibbard.
On January 10, 2018, the Estate filed the instant suit
claiming, inter alia, that Florida Statute §
732.703 had automatically revoked the beneficiary designation
of the annuity at the time of the divorce, meaning that
Allianz should have paid the annuity proceeds to the Estate,
not to Jeanne Hibbard.
Amended Complaint (Doc. 9), the Estate asserts three claims
against Allianz: violation of Fla. Stat. § 732.703
(Count III); negligence (Count IV); and breach of fiduciary
duty (Count V). All three claims are founded on the
Estate's contention that the beneficiary designation of
Jeanne Hibbard was revoked by Fla. Stat. § 732.703. By
way of the instant motion, Allianz seeks dismissal of all
three claims against it.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief” so as to give the defendant fair
notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests, Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct.
99, 103, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957), overruled on other
grounds, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). A Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
merely tests the sufficiency of the complaint; it does not
decide the merits of the case. Milburn v. United
States, 734 F.2d 762, 765 (11th Cir.1984). In ruling on
a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual
allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. SEC v. ESM Group,
Inc., 835 F.2d 270, 272 (11th Cir.1988). The Court must
also limit its consideration to the pleadings and any
exhibits attached thereto. Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c); see also
GSW, Inc. v. Long County, Ga., 999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th
plaintiff must provide enough factual allegations to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1966, and to
indicate the presence of the required elements, Watts v.
Fla. Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1302 (11th Cir.
2007). Conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual deductions
or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent
dismissal. Davila v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 326 F.3d
1183, 1185 (11th Cir. 2003).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), the Supreme Court explained that a
complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations,
“but it demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading
that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of
further factual enhancement.” Id. at 1949
(internal citations and quotations omitted). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - ‘that
the plaintiff is entitled to relief.'” Id.
at 1950 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
initial matter, the Plaintiff takes issue with the Court
considering the written contract that established the annuity
(the “Annuity Contract”) (Doc. 36-1) in
connection with the instant motion. The Plaintiff did not
attach the Annuity Contract to the Complaint. Generally, on a
Rule 12 motion, the Court is limited to consideration of the
information included within the four corners of the complaint
and any exhibits attached to it. Day v. Taylor, 400
F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir. 2005); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).
Consideration of additional material may require that the
court convert the motion to one for summary judgment.
the court may consider a document attached to a motion to
dismiss without converting it to a motion for summary
judgment if the document is (1) central to the
plaintiff's claim and (2) undisputed. Id.
Allianz attached a copy of the Annuity Contract to its motion
to dismiss. That document contains the beneficiary
designation at issue and is intended to control the
disposition of the $97, 000 that is the subject of the
Estate's claims against Allianz. As such, it is clearly
central to the Estate's claims. And though the Estate
complains of not having seen the Annuity Contract before, it
does not challenge its ...