United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ROBERT J. GOINS and NICKOLAS BOULTON, Plaintiffs,
TONA L. GOINS and NATIONAL ELECTRICAL ANNUITY PLAN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on defendant Tona L. Goins'
Motion [Doc. 32] to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) and defendant National Electrical Annuity
Plan's (“NEAP”) Motion [Doc. 33] to Join
defendant's Tona Goins' Motion to Dismiss. The
plaintiffs filed timely responses [Docs. 34 & 35].
Plaintiffs' response to NEAP's motion to join does
not state an objection to NEAP joining in defendant Goins'
motion to dismiss. Therefore, defendant NEAP's Motion to
Join is granted.
matter was initially filed in the Circuit Court of the First
Judicial Circuit, Pulaski County, Illinois and removed to
this Court based on 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because this case
involves an employee pension benefit plan under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
plaintiffs are the sons, and only children, of Robert K.
Goins, deceased. Tona L. Goins is his surviving spouse.
According to the complaint, there was a dispute between the
plaintiffs and Tona Goins with regard to the payment of
Robert Goins' funeral expenses. The plaintiffs paid the
funeral expenses in exchange for Tona Goins executing a
Release and Satisfaction Agreement.
Release and Satisfaction Agreement states as follows:
In consideration of the Goins Family being responsible for
and paying the funeral expenses of ROBERT K. GOINS; I, TONA
L. GOINS, surviving spouse of ROBERT K. GOINS, hereby state
that I have received all amounts due to myself from any
Estate of ROBERT K. GOINS, and state that I am fully
satisfied and I hereby Release any further interest in any
Estate of ROBERT K. GOINS. I also agree to sign any documents
needed to accomplish the goals of this release and consent to
any estate being closed.
release was signed by Tona Goins and notarized on August 30,
2012. It was later determined that Robert K. Goins had a
retirement account with NEAP valued at approximately $69,
552.13. The plaintiffs filed this suit seeking injunctive
relief to require NEAP to distribute the funds to the
plaintiffs pursuant to the Release and to require Tona Goins
to execute any and all documents necessary to facilitate
NEAP's release of the funds to the plaintiffs.
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This
requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the
claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice
of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and
(2) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to
relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496
F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.,
550 U.S. at 556).
Bell Atlantic, the Supreme Court rejected the more
expansive interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2) that “a
complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a
claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief, ” Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at
561-63; Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777.
Now “it is not enough for a complaint to avoid
foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must actually
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief . . . by
providing allegations that ‘raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.'” Concentra Health
Servs., 496 F.3d at 777 (quoting Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555).
Bell Atlantic did not do away with the liberal
federal notice pleading standard. Airborne Beepers &
Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667
(7th Cir. 2007). A complaint still need not contain detailed
factual allegations, Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555, and
it remains true that “[a]ny district judge (for that
matter, any defendant) tempted to write ‘this complaint
is deficient because it does not contain . . .' should
stop and think: What rule of law requires a
complaint to contain that allegation?” Doe v.
Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in
original). Nevertheless, a complaint must contain “more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555. If the factual detail of
a complaint is “so sketchy that the complaint does not
provide the type of notice of the claim to which the
defendant is entitled under Rule 8, ” it is subject to
dismissal. Airborne Beepers, 499 F.3d at 667.
move for judgment as a matter of law stating that there has
never been an estate of Robert K. Goins and that, even if an
estate had been established, the NEAP's funds are not an
asset of any estate of Robert K. Goins, but property that
vested in defendant Tona L. Goins upon the death of her
husband. Defendants further argue ...