United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
ANTOINE D. EVERETT PLAINTIFF
METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Objection
(DN 30) to Magistrate Judge Whalin's Memorandum Opinion
& Order (DN 29), and Defendant's Motion for Leave to
File Response to Plaintiff's Objection (DN 32). For the
following reasons, Plaintiff's Objection (DN 30) is
OVERRULED, and Defendant's Motion for Leave to File
Response to Plaintiff's Objection (DN 32) is GRANTED.
Magistrate Judge's Memorandum Opinion & Order sets
forth in detail the relevant facts of this matter, which the
Court incorporates herein without a recitation. (Mem. Op.
& Order 1-3, DN 29). The decision denied Plaintiff's
motion to amend the Complaint to assert claims under the
Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act
(“KUCSPA”), KRS 304.12-230. (Pl.'s Mot. Amend
Compl. 2-3, DN 23).
Court has “original jurisdiction of all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Civ. P. 15(a)(2) provides that leave to amend pleading should
be “freely given when justice so requires.”
Birchwood Conservancy v. Webb, 302 F.R.D. 422, 424
(E.D. Ky. 2013) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2)). In light of
this liberal view, a motion to amend a pleading “should
be denied if the amendment is brought in bad faith, for
dilatory purposes, results in undue delay or prejudice to the
opposing party, or would be futile.” Colvin v.
Caruso, 605 F.3d 282, 294 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Crawford v. Roane,
53 F.3d 750, 753 (6th Cir. 1995)).
proposed amendment to a pleading is futile if the amendment
“could not withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss.” Rose v. Hartford Underwriters Ins.
Co., 203 F.3d 417, 420 (6th Cir. 2000) (citation
omitted). In order to survive a motion to dismiss, the
pleading “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A
claim has facial plausibility 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. A court may deny a motion to
amend based on futility where adding a state-law claim would
be frivolous given that ERISA clearly preempts such claims.
See Hollingshead v. Aetna Health Inc., 589 F.
App'x 732, 737 (5th Cir. 2014) (citing Pilot Life
Ins. Co. v. Dedeaux, 481 U.S. 41, 46-48 (1987)).
noted above, the Magistrate Judge denied Everett's motion
to amend the Complaint to add claims under the KUCSPA against
Defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
(“MetLife”). (Mem. Op. & Order 10). The
Magistrate Judge concluded that granting of the motion to
amend would be futile because the KUCSPA claims are
completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 1001-1461. (Mem. Op. & Order 6-10).
objections are made to rulings by a magistrate judge
involving nondispositive matters,  the district judge
“must consider timely objections and modify or set
aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is
contrary to law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). Everett has
alleged that the Magistrate Judge: (1) erred when he found
ERISA completely preempted his KUCSPA claim; (2) did not
properly apply the Saving Clause of ERISA's express
preemption provision, 29 U.S.C § 1144(b)(2)(A); and (3)
improperly distinguished Harrison v. TEAMCARE-A Central
States Health Plan, 187 F.Supp.3d 812 (E.D. Ky. 2016),
which Everett suggests is on point and supports his
proposition. (Pl.'s Obj. 3). The Court will address each
of the points asserted in Everett's objection in turn.
contends that Magistrate Judge Whalin erred in concluding
that ERISA preempts his claims under Kentucky law. As the
Magistrate Judge correctly noted, the Supreme Court set out
the test for complete preemption under ERISA in Aetna