United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
DEVONA McQUIRTER, ET AL.
NINA LEHMANN, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
move to stay proceedings or, in the alternative, to dismiss
plaintiffs' claims. The Court denies defendants' motion
as to Plaintiff Devona McQuirter's claim. Construing the
motion as to Plaintiff Joseph Campbell's claim as a
motion for summary judgment, the Court will grant the motion
unless any party files an objection within 14 days.
diversity case arises out of a motor vehicle accident between
plaintiffs and Defendant Nina Lehmann on January 3, 2016.
Plaintiffs were allegedly injured when Lehmann rear-ended
Campbell's vehicle, in which McQuirter was a
passenger. Plaintiffs sued Lehmann, EAN Holdings,
LLC, which owned Lehmann's rental car, and ACE American
Insurance Company in state court on January 3,
2017. Defendants removed the case to this Court
on February 15, 2017, on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed Lehmann
on April 19, 2017.
to defendants, plaintiffs each agreed to settle their claims
for $15, 000 in August 2017. Defendants contend that McQuirter
agreed to voluntarily dismiss her claim as barred by
Louisiana's no pay, no play statute after it was
discovered that McQuirter lacked automobile insurance at the
time of the accident. See La. R.S. § 32:866.
Plaintiffs' counsel has not yet filed a motion to
dismiss. Defendants now move to stay proceedings or, in the
alternative, to enforce its settlement agreement with
Campbell and dismiss plaintiffs' claims. Plaintiffs did
not respond to defendants' motion.
Converting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Campbell's
Claim to a Motion for Summary Judgment
Court construes defendants' request to enforce the
settlement agreement and dismiss Campbell's claim as a
motion for summary judgment. In considering a motion to
dismiss, a court typically must limit itself to the pleadings
and their attachments. Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean
Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498 (5th Cir. 2000). “If, on
a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the
pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the
motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule
56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). But uncontested documents
referred to in the pleadings may be considered by the court
without converting the motion to one for summary judgment,
even when the documents are not physically attached to the
complaint. See Great Plains Trust Co. v. Morgan Stanley
Dean Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 313 (5th Cir. 2002)
(finding that the district court properly considered
documents not attached to the complaint in ruling on a Rule
12(c) motion). A court may also consider documents attached
to a motion to dismiss without converting it to a summary
judgment motion if the documents are referred to in the
complaint and are central to the plaintiff's claim.
Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d
285, 288 (5th Cir. 2004).
their motion to enforce the settlement agreement and dismiss
Campbell's claim, defendants ask the Court to consider
the signed settlement agreement itself. This document is not
referred to in plaintiffs' complaint. When a party bases
a motion to dismiss on matters outside the pleadings, the
court has discretion either to reject the extraneous
material, or accept it and convert the motion to dismiss into
a motion for summary judgment. See Isquith ex rel.
Isquith v. Middle S. Utils., Inc., 847 F.2d 186, 194 n.3
(5th Cir. 1988); 5C Wright & Miller, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1366 (3d ed. 2017). The Court finds
that conversion to summary judgment will “facilitate
the disposition of the action” by allowing the Court to
resolve the question of whether a binding settlement
agreement was reached. 5C Wright & Miller, Federal
Practice and Procedure § 1366 (recognizing that a
district court is likely to accept extra-pleading material
and convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment when the material is comprehensive and will enable a
rational determination of a Rule 56 motion). Therefore, the
Court will consider the settlement agreement attached to
defendants' motion as material outside the pleadings and
convert defendants' motion to dismiss into a motion for
motion to dismiss is converted into a motion for summary
judgment, the nonmovant is entitled certain procedural
safeguards. See Isquith, 847 F.2d at 195.
Specifically, “[u]nder Rule 12(d), a district court may
convert a motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment
so long as it gives the parties a ‘reasonable
opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to
the motion.'” Trinity Marine Prod., Inc. v.
United States, 812 F.3d 481, 487 (5th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d)). To ensure that all parties have
proper notice, the Court will permit any party to file an
opposition to summary judgment within 14 days of the entry of
this order. If no party files an opposition, this order will
on the parties' settlement agreement, defendants are
entitled summary judgment on Campbell's claim. Summary
judgment is warranted when “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
When assessing whether a dispute as to any material fact
exists, the Court considers “all of the evidence in the
record but refrain[s] from making credibility determinations
or weighing the evidence.” Delta & Pine Land
Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395,
398-99 (5th Cir. 2008). All reasonable inferences are drawn
in favor of the nonmoving party, but “unsupported
allegations or affidavits setting forth ‘ultimate or
conclusory facts and conclusions of law' are insufficient
to either support or defeat a motion for summary
judgment.” Galindo v. Precision Am. Corp., 754