United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA M. G. LYNN, CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Mark D. Daniels' Motion to Dismiss
Crossclaim Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6); or, in the alternative,
Motion to Strike Pursuant to Rule 12(f) and Motion for More
Definite Statement Pursuant to Rule 12(e). (ECF No. 18). For
the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss is
GRANTED, so the alternative motions are
before the Court is Defendant Pamela R. Hieb's Motion for
Leave to Amend Crossclaim. (ECF No. 25). For the reasons
stated below, the Motion for Leave is
Factual and Procedural Background
Hieb and Eugene Knies were married in 1990. (Crossclaim
¶ 79, ECF No. 9). Knies and Mark Daniels later became
business partners, and each purchased insurance policies that
insured the life of the other. (Id. ¶ 80). Two
of those insured the life of Knies for a total of $2 million,
and Daniels was the owner and beneficiary of both policies
(“Disputed Policies”). (Id. ¶¶
80-81). Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (“Sun
Life”) issued the policies. (Id¶ 80).
2011, Hieb filed for divorce from Knies. (Crossclaim ¶
82). While the divorce was pending, Daniels and Knies
terminated their business relationship. (Id. ¶
84). They also agreed to exchange certain of their insurance
policies. (Id. ¶ 85). Daniels transferred his
ownership interest in the Disputed Policies to Knies, but
still remained as the beneficiary, allegedly based on a
promise by Daniels to Knies to provide for Knies'
October 7, 2016, the divorce court held that Knies was
“divested of all right, title, interest, and claim in
or to” the Disputed Policies, awarding them to Hieb as
her “sole and separate property.” (Crossclaim
¶¶ 90, 93-94). On October 31, 2016, Hieb asked Sun
Life to designate her as the owner of the Disputed Policies.
(Id. ¶¶ 35-40). Later that day, Knies
died. (Id. ¶ 40). On November 1, 2016, Hieb
asked Sun Life to designate her as the beneficiary of the
Disputed Policies. (Id. ¶ 41).
Life filed this interpleader action because Hieb and Daniels
each claim to be the sole beneficiary of the Disputed
Policies. Hieb then filed a crossclaim against Daniels for
conspiracy to commit fraud. (Crossclaim ¶ 104; Hieb
Resp. at 2, ECF No. 24). She alleges that Knies and Daniels
conspired to prevent her from becoming the beneficiary of the
Disputed Policies. (Id. ¶¶ 98, 103).
Daniels moves to dismiss the crossclaim under Rule 12(b)(6).
Hieb moves for leave to amend in the event that the Court
grants the motion to dismiss the crossclaim.
Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
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). The pleading standard
Rule 8 announces does not require “detailed factual
allegations, ” but it does demand more than an
unadorned accusation devoid of factual support. Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. The
court must accept all of the plaintiff's factual
allegations as true, but it is not bound to accept as true
“a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Id. at 555. Where the facts do
not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility
of misconduct, the complaint has stopped short of showing
that the pleader is plausibly entitled to relief.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
alleging fraud must meet a heightened pleading standard. They
must “state with particularity the circumstances
constituting fraud or mistake.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b).
Articulating the elements of fraud with particularity
“requires a plaintiff to specify the statements
contended to be fraudulent, identify the speaker, state when
and where the statements were made, and explain why the
statements were fraudulent.” Williams v. WMX
Techs., Inc., 112 F.3d 175, 177 (5th Cir. 1997)
(citation omitted). In allegations of conspiracy to commit
fraud, plaintiff must plead with particularity both the
conspiracy as well as the overt acts taken in furtherance of
the conspiracy. See U.S. ex rel. Grubbs v.
Kanneganti, 565 F.3d 180, 193 (5th Cir. 2009) (citation
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