United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MICHELLE J. D'ANTUONO, Plaintiff,
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. and RELIANCE STANDARD LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.
Michelle J. D'Antuono, widow of the late Joseph B.
D'Antuono, filed suit against her late husband's
employer, Defendant Temple University Health System, Inc.,
and the company through which Joseph received life insurance
as a Temple employee, Defendant Reliance Standard Life
Insurance Company, after she failed to receive benefits after
Joseph's death. Her amended complaint alleged four
counts, which, critically for this litigation, are not
labeled with specific causes of action. The Court describes
them, as best it can, as follows:
I) Failure to pay benefits in violation of ERISA
II) Failure to notify Joseph of his conversion rights in
violation of the terms of the Policy
III) Breach of Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing;
IV) Failure by Temple and Reliance to notify Joseph of his
conversion rights in violation of the terms of the Policy
now move to dismiss Counts II-IV as preempted by ERISA. For
the reasons stated below, Defendants' motions are
GRANTED WITH PREJUDICE.
following facts are accepted as true from the Amended
Complaint. Plaintiff Michelle J. D'Antuono's husband,
Joseph D'Antuono, was employed by Defendant Temple
University Health System Inc. (“Temple”) from
May, 2015 through January 31, 2016. (Am. Compl. ¶ 4, ECF
6). Joseph died on March 1, 2016. (Id. ¶ 16).
provided Joseph with Life Insurance Policy No. GL668924
(“Policy”) through Defendant Reliance Standard
Life Insurance Company (“Reliance”) in the amount
of $500, 000.00. (Id. ¶ 6). Under the terms of
this life insurance policy, following the termination of his
employment, Joseph had the option to convert his group life
insurance policy to an individual life insurance policy.
(Id. ¶ 27). He had a 31-day “conversion
period” from the termination of his employment to
exercise this option, which commenced on February 1, 2016.
(Id. ¶¶ 14-15). Joseph did not receive
written notice from Reliance or Temple of his right to
convert to an individual life insurance policy, which the
terms of the Policy entitled him to, making him unable to
convert to an individual life insurance policy. (Id.
¶¶ 28, 40-41).
Joseph's death, Plaintiff made a claim for benefits under
the Policy, but Reliance denied her claim in a letter dated
August 1, 2016. (Id. ¶ 17). Plaintiff appealed
the denial of benefits on September, 27, 2016. (Am. Compl.
¶ 18; Ex. D). Reliance denied her appeal on December 16,
2016. (Am. Compl. ¶ 19; Ex. E). After further review,
Reliance again denied her claim for benefits on December 22,
2016. (Am. Compl. ¶ 20, Ex. F).
originally filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas for
Philadelphia County on February 27, 2018. (Notice of Removal,
ECF 1 at 4). On April 9, 2018, Temple removed the action to
this Court based on diversity of citizenship. (Id.)
After Reliance moved to dismiss the initial complaint,