United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
CHRISTINE WALDRUP CALLOWAY, KENNETH EDWARD WALDRUP, JR., and TANISHA WALDRUP PIKE, Plaintiffs,
METLIFE SECURITIES, INC., Defendant.
E. OTT CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
allege Defendant MetLife Securities, Inc. (“MSI”)
is responsible for a fraud perpetrated by its agent Bryan
Anderson. The action is before the court on Defendant's
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). (Doc. 30). The court concludes that Defendant's
motion is due to be granted.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
action arises from Plaintiffs' sixteen-year-old
interactions with Anderson, a former employee of Defendant.
In early 2002, after her husband's death, Plaintiffs'
mother, Fran Waldrup, was contacted by Bryan Anderson who
informed Fran that her husband's life insurance policy
required the equal division of the proceeds between Fran and
Plaintiffs. (Doc. 29 (“Compl.”) at 5). Anderson
told her that Plaintiffs' father “had likely made a
mistake and that the funds were likely supposed to have been
left to her alone.” (Id.) Faced with the
possibility of a jarring change in lifestyle, Fran called
Plaintiffs to relay to them what she had been told by
Anderson. (Id. at 5-6). Shortly thereafter, in about
March 2002, Plaintiffs met with Anderson and Fran to discuss
the situation. (Id. at 6). Anderson repeated his
belief that Plaintiffs' father had meant to leave the
insurance proceeds to Fran alone and that he “had
simply made a mistake filling out the beneficiary
form.” (Id.) He went further, suggesting that
the tax rate would be higher if Plaintiffs kept their portion
of the proceeds. (Id.) He proposed that Plaintiffs
give their portions of the policy to Fran so that the tax
rate would be less and she could place the money in her MSI
account which would allow Anderson to manage the money.
(Id.) Plaintiffs agreed to Anderson's plan.
time later, on April 18, 2002, the funds from the life
insurance policy were deposited in Plaintiffs' accounts.
(Id.) On May 8, 2002, Plaintiffs and Fran met with
Anderson to make the transfers of funds from Plaintiffs'
accounts to Fran. (Id. at 6-7). They did so by
writing personal checks for the portion they had received
from the policy. Anderson told Plaintiffs to write
“Gift” on the memorandum line of each check.
(Id. at 7). A total of $186, 246.00 was transferred
to Fran's accounts. (Id.) During the meeting,
Plaintiff Tanisha Waldrup Pike suggested to her mother that
the money could be used to pay off the mortgage on Fran's
home. Anderson discouraged that, saying that “paying
off the house sooner would not truly help Fran as much as
being able to access the money and having it grow by
investing it.” (Id.)
met with Anderson and Fran again in about February or March
2004. (Id. at 7). Before the meeting, Fran told
Plaintiffs that Anderson had put her money in a “fool
proof” real estate investment and that she was
guaranteed a 100% return on the investment. (Id.)
According to Anderson, the investment was
“hush-hush” and was made available on an
exclusive basis. (Id.)
proceeded to use the money as part of a massive Ponzi scheme
for which he was arrested, charged, and convicted in 2015.
(Id. at 8). Fran lost all of the money by
2010. (Id. at 9).
2016, fourteen years after the first meeting with Anderson,
Plaintiff Calloway read an article online about the Ponzi
scheme and realized that Fran had been swindled.
(Id. at 8). Further, she believed that Plaintiffs
had been duped by Anderson into giving away the proceeds of
their father's life insurance policy. (Id.) In
response to this belief, Plaintiffs filed this action against
MSI as Anderson's former employer. (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs
filed an amended complaint on August 7, 2018. (Doc. 29). On
August 21, 2018, Defendant moved to dismiss the amended
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). (Doc. 30).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss, a pleading must contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)
& 12(b)(6). “[T]he pleading standard described by
Rule 8 does not required detailed factual allegations, but it
demands more than an unadorned, the
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). It is
insufficient to simply recite the elements of a cause of
action or make conclusory allegations. See Id. Mere
naked assertions devoid of factual support do not satisfy the
requirements of Rule 8. See id.
avoid dismissal, “a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Id. A
complaint meets this standard “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. Thus, the complaint
must establish more than the mere possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In the end, this
inquiry is a “context specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
complaint contains multiple counts. Plaintiffs have alleged
the following claims: (1) failure to supervise and
investigate, (2) breach of fiduciary duty, (3) breach of
contract, (4) “common law claims” of intentional
and negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and breach
of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and (5) fraud.
(Doc 29. at 9-17). Defendant contends that various grounds
exist for dismissing each claim. Some contentions apply to
every claim and others apply to only certain claims. They
will be addressed below.