United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JULIAN R. HOOD, JR., Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
L. Maloney United States District Judge
one of a series of lawsuits brought by plaintiff claiming
improper denial of federal employee group life insurance
(FEGLI) benefits. “The Federal Employees Group Life
Insurance Act of 1954, 5 U.S.C. § 8701, et
seq., establishes a life insurance program for federal
employees and provides that an employee may designate a
beneficiary to receive the proceeds of her life insurance at
the time of her death.” Hood v. Office of Pers.
Mgmt., 1:15-cv-609, 2016 WL 4411365, at * 1 (W.D. Mich.
May 17, 2016). “The program is administered by the
federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM). 5 U.S.C. §
8716. Pursuant to the authority granted to it by FEGLIA, OPM
entered into a life insurance contract with the Metropolitan
Life Insurance Company. See § 8709; 5 CFR § 870.102
(2013). Individual employees enrolled in the Federal
Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program receive
coverage through this contract.” Hillman v.
Maretta, 133 S.Ct. 1943, 1947 (2013). The Office of
Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) is an
administrative unit of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
(MetLife) responsible for administering the claims process of
the FEGLI program. See Reed v. United States, No.
97-6525, 1999 WL 503586, at * 1 n.1 (6th Cir. July 12, 1999);
Graber v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 855 F.Supp.2d 673,
674 (N.D. Ohio 2012).
mother, Deborah Covington Jackson was a federal employee. On
March 18, 2002, she executed a waiver which canceled her
coverage under the FEGLI Program. Ms. Jackson died on
September 22, 2013. After Ms. Jackson's death, plaintiff
attempted to obtain FEGLI benefits, but benefits were denied
because Ms. Jackson had waived those benefits more than a
decade before her death.” Hood v. Office of Pers.
Mgmt., 2016 WL 4411365, at * 1.
Hood v. Office of Personnel Management, plaintiff
argued that his mother had not been mentally capable of
executing a waiver of life insurance in 2002. 2016 WL
4411365, at * 1. The Court held that sovereign immunity
barred plaintiff's claims. Id. at * 6.
Alternatively, plaintiff's claims were barred by the
statute of limitations. Id. at * 6-8.
“Assuming that plaintiff ha[d] standing to contest the
validity of a waiver executed by his now-deceased mother, any
such cause of action accrued no later than May 14, 2002, when
defendant advised Ms. Jackson that all of her life insurance
coverage was cancelled pursuant to her written
request.” 2016 WL 4411365, at * 7.
filed this lawsuit on April 21, 2016. (ECF No. 1). Here,
plaintiff once again claims entitlement to FEGLI benefits
based on arguments that his mother was not mentally capable
of executing the 2002 waiver of FEGLI life insurance
coverage. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff named six defendants in this
complaint: United States of America, Office of Personnel
Management (OPM), OPM's Director, Beth Cobert
(collectively referred to as the OPM defendants), and
MetLife, Inc., its Office of Federal Group Life Insurance
(more properly identified as Office of Federal Employees'
Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI), and its Chief Executive
Officer, Steven Kandarian (collectively referred to as the
MetLife defendants). Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on a
broad range of legal theories. (ECF No. 1, PageID.1, 16).
matter is before the Court on a series of motions by
plaintiff (ECF No. 11, 16, 22, 28) and defendants (ECF No. 7,
10, 13, 25). For the reasons set forth herein,
plaintiff's first motion for leave to amend his complaint
(ECF No. 11) will be granted and plaintiff's amended
complaint (ECF No. 12, PageID.148-99) will be deemed filed
instanter. Plaintiff's other motions (ECF No.
16, 22, 28) will be denied. Three of defendants'
dispositive motions (ECF No. 7, 10, 13) will be dismissed
without prejudice. The motion for summary judgment by the
Metlife defendants based on claim preclusion(ECF No. 25) will
30, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion under Rule 15(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure seeking leave to amend his
complaint. (ECF No. 11). Plaintiff indicated that he had
listed an FTCA claim in the caption of his complaint, but he
was not sure that he had listed an FTCA claim against the OPM
defendants in the body of the complaint “as he as he
had done in [his] other complaints[.]” (Id. at
PageID.137-38). He also wanted to “make [his] defense
to the statute of limitations that the United States and the
OPM may claim.” (Id. at PageID.138).
Defendants did not file a brief in opposition to this motion
and at that juncture they had filed nothing precluding
plaintiff from amending his pleading once as of right.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1)(B). Plaintiff's
motion (ECF No. 11) will be granted and plaintiff's
amended complaint (ECF No. 12, PageID.148-69) will be deemed
20, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second
amended complaint. (ECF No. 16). Plaintiff stated that he was
seeking leave to dismiss all his claims against the United
States and OPM. (Id. at PageID.208). However,
defendants are correct that plaintiff is not clear regarding
what he proposed to do with his claims against defendant
Colbert (Id.), and plaintiff's proffered second
amended complaint persists in making numerous allegations of
wrongdoings by OPM (ECF No. 16, PageID.216, 221). The OPM
defendants would be severely prejudiced and the procedural
posture of this case would be needlessly complicated by
allowing the proposed amendment. Plaintiff's motion for
leave to file a second amended complaint will be denied.
three-sentence motion asking the Court to submit his
“complaint” to a magistrate judge for decision
(ECF No. 22) will be denied. Assuming that plaintiff was
alluding to pending motions, the Court finds that no referral
is necessary because all such motions are addressed herein.
February 15, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for relief from
judgment under the caption of one of his other lawsuits:
Hood v. United States Postal Service, No.
1:14-cv-1104. Plaintiff asked that his motion be filed in
fourteen additional lawsuits that he has filed in this Court.
(ECF No. 28, PageID.317). Plaintiff cannot seek relief from
judgments entered in other cases in this lawsuit. The only
instances where this case is even mentioned in
plaintiff's motion are the first and last pages where
this case's number appears in a list. (Id. at
PageID.317, 351). Plaintiff asked to have the
“judgment” in this case vacated. (Id. at
PageID.351). Plaintiff's motion was decidedly premature
in this case because a final judgment has yet been entered.
Plaintiff's motion will be denied.
of the defendants' dispositive motions (ECF No. 7, 10,
13) were filed early in this case and they were directed
against plaintiff's original complaint rather than his
amended complaint. Accordingly, those motions will be
dismissed without prejudice. On September 16, 2016, the
MetLife defendants filed a motion seeking summary judgment on
the ground that all plaintiff's claims against the
MetLife defendants are barred by claim preclusion stemming
from the judgment this Court entered in Case No. 1:15-cv-609.
preclusion is the doctrine by which a final judgment on the
merits in an action precludes a party from bringing a
subsequent lawsuit on the same claim or raising a new defense
to defeat a prior judgment.” Hood v. United
States, No. 1:16-cv-665, 2016 WL 7334836, at * 2 (W.D.
Mich. Dec. 19, 2016) (citing Montana v. United
States, 440 U.S. 147, 153 (1979) and Mitchell v.
Chapman, 343 F.3d 811, 819 (6th Cir. 2003). “The
elements of claim preclusion are: (1) a final decision on the
merits by a court of competent jurisdiction; (2) the same
parties or their privies that were involved in the first
action are present in the second action; (3) the second
action raises an issue or claim that was or should have been
litigated in the first action; and (4) there is an identity
of claims between the first and second actions. Hood v.
United States, 2016 WL 7334836, at * 2 (citing
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