United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
before the Court is Defendants Aetna Life Insurance Company
and Capital One Financial Corporation's
(“Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment. R.
22. Plaintiff, Deborah Davis, has submitted no opposition to
the Defendants' Motion. For the following reasons, the
unopposed motion is GRANTED.
ERISA case stems from Defendants Aetna and Capital One's
refusal to provide short and long-term benefits under the
terms of Plaintiff's employee welfare plan. R. 1 at 1.
Capital One was Plaintiff's employer, and Capital One
provided a Benefits Program through Aetna Life Insurance
Company. R. 1 at 2. On October 11, 2012, Plaintiff's
husband, Jeffrey Davis, died after being pinned under a
vehicle. R. 1 at 3. Plaintiff witnessed her husband's
death. R. 1 at 3. Plaintiff alleges that witnessing her
husband's death caused her to experience emotional
distress, extreme grief, and insomnia. R. 1 at 3. Plaintiff
began visiting Dr. Lora Langefels regarding these issues. R.
1 at 3.
November 2, 2012, Plaintiff requested leave under the Family
Medical Leave Act, Case No. 7121750, and Disability, Case No.
7131752. R. 1 at 3. On December 11, 2012, Plaintiff received
correspondence indicating that her FMLA claim, Case No.
713750, was denied. Plaintiff alleges she has never received
any decision regarding her disability claim. R. 1 at 3.
Plaintiff was ultimately terminated by Capital One on May 5,
2013, and has never received any disability compensation. R.
1 at 6. Plaintiff now seeks payment of short term and long
term benefits under the terms of the Aetna plan. R. 1 at 7.
Plaintiff also asserts that Defendants breached their
fiduciary duties by arbitrarily and capriciously failing to
pay her benefits. R. 1 at 7. Finally, Plaintiff seeks a
Judgment declaring she is entitled to past and future
long-term disability benefits under the terms of the Aetna
plan. R. 1 at 7-8. Aetna and Capital One both timely filed
Answers asserting that Plaintiff was not entitled to benefits
under the Aetna plan, as well as the standard ERISA defenses.
R. 8, 9.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
unopposed motion seeking summary judgment shall be entered
“if appropriate.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). Summary
judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
oppose a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant cannot
rest on mere allegations or denials but must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 321-22 (1986). Where the movant demonstrates the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact, “the
nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61 F.3d 313,
315 (5th Cir. 1995). The Court does not, “in the
absence of any proof, assume that the nonmoving party could
or would prove the necessary facts.” Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). If
the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier
of fact to find for the nonmoving party, no genuine issue
exists for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
case, summary judgment is proper. Plaintiff bears the burden
of proving she was entitled to benefits under the terms of
the Plan, and that the denial of benefits was arbitrary and
capricious. Dramse v. Delta Family-Care Disability &
Survivorship Plan, 269 F.App'x 470, 481 (5th Cir.
2008). Under the terms of the Plan, Plaintiff was only
entitled to disability benefits after her disability was
certified by the plan administrator. See R. 22-1 at
10; AR at 321. Despite multiple requests from the plan
administrator, Plaintiff failed to submit any medical
documentation indicating she suffered from a disability that
would prevent her from completing any of her job
responsibilities. See R. 22-1 at 11-12. The record
demonstrates that Plaintiff, contrary to her allegations, did
not ever file a claim for long term benefits. See R.
22, Ex. 1, Comar affidavit. Further, Plaintiff failed to
exhaust her administrative remedies. Under the terms of the
plan, she was required to appeal a decision denying benefits
within 180 days. AR at 337, 386, 483-84. Plaintiff did not
respond to the benefits denial until filing this
lawsuit-nearly three years after the 180 day deadline
expired. R. Doc. 22-1 at 13. Finally, Plaintiff has come
forth with no evidence either to support her claim or rebut
Defendants' arguments. As Plaintiff has not demonstrated
a genuine issue of any material fact, the Court finds
Defendant is entitled to summary judgment.
foregoing reasons, Defendants Aetna Life Insurance Company
and Capital One Financial Corporation's Motion ...