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Ryan Boddicker v. Esurance Inc

March 2, 2011

RYAN BODDICKER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ESURANCE INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Karen E. Schreier Chief Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, Ryan Boddicker, filed suit against defendant, Esurance Inc.,*fn1 for violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The court granted Esurance's motion for summary judgment in part, including on Boddicker's COBRA claim. Boddicker now moves to reconsider and vacate the grant of summary judgment on the COBRA claim. Esurance resists. The motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

The facts, viewed in the light most favorable to Esurance, the nonmoving party, are as follows:

Boddicker, a military veteran, worked at Esurance in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The military recalled him to active duty in February of 2005. While on active duty, he experienced a traumatic event that caused him to suffer panic attacks. After finishing his tour of duty, Boddicker returned to Esurance as a sales agent in March of 2006. He continued to experience panic attacks and needed leave from work. He applied for and received intermittent FMLA leave from Esurance in April of 2007. In August of 2007, Boddicker informed Esurance that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and needed lengthier FMLA leave to deal with that disorder. In October of 2007, Boddicker took extended FMLA leave. Boddicker resigned from Esurance on November 5, 2007.

While on active duty, Boddicker maintained a post office box in Sioux Falls as his address. Esurance uses a third party, Ceridian Benefits Services, Inc., to maintain its employees' personal information, including their addresses. The post office box was listed as Boddicker's permanent address in Ceridian's records. In July or August of 2007, Boddicker changed his address to 4500 East 36th Street, Sioux Falls, and he no longer maintained his post office box address. Boddicker did not update the Ceridian system with his new street address.

After Boddicker resigned from Esurance, Esurance sent a notice to Boddicker through the Ceridian system to the post office box address that he could continue his healthcare benefits under COBRA. Boddicker did not receive this notice. After Boddicker commenced this litigation, Esurance again sent a COBRA notice to Boddicker in March of 2009. In May of 2008, Boddicker received a 30 percent veteran's disability rating and, due to this rating, qualified for full veterans' benefits.

Esurance moved for summary judgment and the court granted summary judgment on Boddicker's COBRA claim after concluding that Ceridian was the COBRA plan administrator for Esurance's employee benefits plan. Boddicker now moves for reconsideration and alleges that he has new evidence that Esurance is its own COBRA plan administrator.

DISCUSSION

I. Rule 60(b) Motion

A. Standard of Review

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b),"the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding." The court may grant Rule 60(b) relief if, among other avenues, one of the following four situations occurs: "(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b); (3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party; . . . (6) any other reason that justifies relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1)-(3), (6). A Rule 60(b) motion must be made within a reasonable time. Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c).

In moving for reconsideration under Rule 60(b), Boddicker "respectfully suggests that this relief is appropriate under any of [the] four grounds" stated above. Docket 77 at 4. After reviewing the evidence, the court finds that Boddicker's motion is properly made under Rule 60(b)(3), which allows a court to reconsider an order if the opposing party committed fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct.

"Rule 60(b) is 'not a vehicle for simple reargument on the merits.' " Arnold v. Wood, 238 F.3d 992, 998 (8th Cir. 2001) (quoting Broadway v. Norris, 193 F.3d 987, 990 (8th Cir. 1999)). Instead, the moving party must show exceptional circumstances. Id. (citing Brooks v. Ferguson-Florissant Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 903, 904 (8th Cir. 1997)).

"To prevail on a Rule 60(b)(3) motion, the movant must show, 'with clear and convincing evidence, that the opposing party engaged in a fraud or misrepresentation that prevented the movant from fully and fairly presenting its case.' " United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 935 (8th Cir. 2006) (quoting Harley v. Zoesch, 413 F.3d 866, 870 (8th Cir. 2005)). District courts have wide discretion to grant Rule 60(b) relief and the appellate court only reviews for an abuse of discretion. Arnold, 238 F.3d at 998 (citing Sanders v. Clemco Indus., 862 F.2d 161, 169 (8th Cir. 1988)).

A. Analysis

1. Esurance's Initial Representations In its brief in support of its summary judgment motion, Esurance represented to the court that Ceridian was its COBRA plan administer. See Docket 51 at 25 ("Esurance's COBRA administrator, Ceridian . . . ."); Docket 49, Defendant's Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ¶ 93 ("Ceridian is Esurance's COBRA Administrator." (citing Deposition of Sandra Hynes at 37-38)); Id. at ¶ 96 ("Once Esurance knows that an employee has terminated his or her employment, it ...


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