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Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Jackson

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

October 31, 2017

METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
v.
WILLIE LEE JACKSON, SR., ET AL.

          ORDER

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's (“MetLife”) Ex Parte Motion for Order Directing Service by Publication (R. Doc. 37) filed on October 16, 2017.

         I. Background

         MetLife commenced this interpleader action on March 6, 2017. (R. Doc. 1). At issue in this interpleader action is the death benefit of $5, 000.00 payable by MetLife in light of the death of John Jackson on November 20, 2015. The Interpleader-Defendants named in the Complaint are Willie Lee Jackson, Sr., individually and as Administratrix of the Succession of John Jackson (“Jackson”), and Alexis Hill, Jonathan Hill, and Sebastian Hill (collectively, the “Hills”). (R. Doc. 36 at 1). MetLife alleges that the Hills are all domiciled in Chicago, Illinois. (R. Doc. 1 at 1-2).

         On March 7, 2017, MetLife sent waiver of service forms to the Hills. (R. Doc. 26-4).

         On April 5, 2017, the Court granted MetLife's motion to deposit into the registry of the Court the sum of $5, 471.23, which represents the principal sum payable in death benefits plus accrued interest. (R. Doc. 5).

         On April 27, 2017, Jackson filed an Answer and Crossclaim. (R. Doc. 8). The Hills have not filed an Answer or otherwise made an appearance in this action.

         The sole address for the Hills available to MetLife is on the Change of Beneficiary Designation form on file with MetLife, which consists of a Post Office Box in Chicago, Illinois, with the zip code 60613. (R. Doc. 26-2).

         On April 18, 2017, MetLife sent a letter to the Hills inquiring about the waiver of service form. (R. Doc. 26-5). MetLife's counsel represents that despite having discussed the dispute with Alexis Hill by telephone, counsel did not receive a signed waiver of service from any of the Hills. (R. Doc. 36 at 2; R. Doc. 26-1 at 2).

         On May 8, 2017, MetLife attempted service of process on the Hills by certified mail pursuant to the Louisiana Long Arm Statute. (R. Doc. 9; R. Doc. 10; R. Doc. 11). MetLife's counsel represents that on May 30, 2017, the envelopes addressed to Jonathan Hill and Sebastian Hill were returned to her office with the return receipts still attached. (R. Doc. 36 at 2).

         On July 13, 2017, the Court held a telephone conference. (R. Doc. 24). The Hills did not participate. The Court set a new telephone conference to be held on August 21, 2017, and ordered MetLife's counsel to “send a copy of this order to any available addresses for any defendants that have not appeared and provide call in information for the telephone status conference so that they may participate by phone.” (R. Doc. 24 at 1). MetLife's counsel represents that she sent copies of that Order to the Hills, as well as an additional letter reminding the Hills of the status conference, but the envelopes were returned to Ms. Roddy's office marked “Refused.” (R. Doc. 36 at 2-3; see R. Doc. 31-3; R. Doc. 31-4, R. Doc. 31-5).

         On August 21, 2017, the Court held a telephone conference. (R. Doc. 27). The Hills did not participate. The Court then set an additional telephone conference for October 3, 2017. (R. Doc. 30). Ms. Roddy represents that she sent a copy of the notice setting this telephone conference to the Hills. (R. Doc. 36 at 3; see R. Doc. 31-6).

         On October 3, 2017, the Court held a telephone conference. (R. Doc. 33). The Hills did not participate.

         On October 16, 2017, MetLife filed the instant motion, which seeks approval from the Court to order service of process on Alexis Hill, Jonathan Hill, and Sebastian Hill by ...


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