United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Life & Accident Insurance Company ("Colonial
Life") filed this interpleader action seeking a
determination of which of several claimants is entitled to
the proceeds of decedent Kendric Wade's life insurance
policy and accompanying rider (the "Life Policy and
Rider") and accident policy (the "Accident
Policy") (collectively, the "Colonial Life
Policies"). Kendric purchased the Life Policy and
Rider from Colonial Life in 2012 and designated his mother,
Helen Wade, as the beneficiary. Kendric purchased the Accident
Policy from Colonial Life in 2014 and designated his sisters,
Lekisha and Serbrina Wade, as co-equal
beneficiaries. Kendric married Alethea Wade in 2 015 and
never amended the Colonial Life Policies to designate her as
a beneficiary. Kendric was shot and killed in December of
2 017. Helen pre-deceased Kendric, and the terms
of the Life Policy and Rider made Kendric's estate the
Lekisha, Serbrina, and Kendric's father, Frank
Hollingsworth,  are claimants on the Life Policy and
Rider.Alethea, Lekisha, and Serbrina are
claimants on the Accident Policy. Alethea claims that she is
entitled to a share of the proceeds of the Colonial Life
Policies despite not being named as a beneficiary because
some portion of the Policies is community property under
Texas law and that premiums were paid on the Policies with
community funds until Kendric died. Pending before the court
is Defendants Lekisha Wade and Serbrina Wade's 12(b)(6)
Motion to Dismiss ("Lekisha and Serbrina's
Motion") (Docket Entry No. 27).
12(b)(6) motion attacks the sufficiency of the pleadings and
is "appropriate when a defendant attacks the complaint
because it fails to state a legally cognizable claim."
Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th
Cir. 2001), cert, denied sub nom., Cloud v.
United States, 122 S.Ct. 2665 (2002') . "The
only way to test the merit of a claim if matters outside the
bounds of the complaint must be considered is by way of
motion for summary judgment." Murphy v. Inexco Oil
Co., 611 F.2d 570, 573 (5th Cir. 1980) . "In that
event, even if a motion to dismiss has been filed, the court
must convert it into a summary judgment proceeding and afford
the plaintiff a reasonable opportunity to present all
material made pertinent to a summary judgment motion by
[Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 56." Id.
Life was dismissed from this action, and the only issue
remaining is the proper division of the proceeds of the
Colonial Life Policies among the claimants. Lekisha and
Serbrina's Motion asks the court to address the merits of
Alethea's claim to the proceeds of the Colonial Life
Policies. Their Motion is therefore properly
characterized as a motion for summary judgment rather than a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Because Lekisha and Serbrina
filed their Motion as a motion to dismiss, Alethea has not
yet been afforded a reasonable opportunity to respond with
all material made pertinent by Rule 56. The court
therefore ORDERS that Lekisha and
Serbrina's 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss be converted into a
summary judgment proceeding. Alethea may respond by May 23,
2019. Althea shall submit evidence of the dates and amounts
of all Policy premiums that she contends were paid with
community funds. Lekisha and Serbrina may file a reply by
June 6, 2019.
See First Amended Complaint for
Interpleader, Docket Entry No. 17, pp. 4-6.
See id. at 3.
See id. at 4.
Frank Hollingsworth has not entered an