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Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co. v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia

July 1, 2014

KEVIN M. CLARKE, Defendant.


JAMES C. CACHERIS, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Kevin M. Clarke's ("Defendant") Motion for Relief from Judgment, [Dkt. 61], Motion for Mandatory Sanctions under FRCP 11, [Dkt. 60], Motions for Issuance of Subpoenas, [Dkts. 62, 71, 72], and Motion in Limine, [Dkt. 64]. After a nearly six-year hiatus, Defendant has filed these motions seeking to reopen and relitigate his case. As explained below, Defendant is pursuing relief that this Court has already rejected, and the instant filings provide no valid grounds to revisit the matter. Accordingly, the Court will deny Defendant's motions.

I. Background

This case arises out of a claim that Defendant perpetrated insurance fraud against Plaintiff Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company ("Provident"). (Mem. Op. [Dkt. 43] at 1.) On July 11, 1997, Defendant met with an insurance agent and completed an application for disability insurance. ( Id. ) In his application, Defendant denied having any preexisting conditions and reported that his last exam was normal. (Pl.'s Opp'n [Dkt. 63] Ex. 2.) Defendant also denied having had, within five years of the application date, any medical or physical disorder not listed on the application. ( Id. ) Provident issued a disability insurance policy (the "Policy") to Defendant effective September 16, 1997. (Mem. Op. at 2.)

On or about July 24, 2001, Defendant submitted a claim for long term disability payments under the Policy, listing multiple sclerosis ("MS") as the cause. (Mem. Op. at 2.) Provident began paying disability benefits in September 2001, and simultaneously launched an investigation into Defendant's claim. ( Id. ) Provident caught a break in the investigation when Defendant's ex-wife came forward with information that Defendant had been diagnosed with MS prior to 1997. (Pl.'s Opp'n at 3.) Provident subsequently discovered medical records where Defendant complained of difficulty swallowing, episodic numbness and tingling on the right side of his body, tinnitus, spots in his vision, vertigo, migraine headaches, and numbness in his chest. ( Id. at 4.) Defendant's application made no mention of these symptoms. Provident rescinded the Policy and tendered a return of the premium check to Defendant, which he refused to cash. (Mem. Op. at 2.) On August 4, 2006, Provident instituted this action seeking rescission of the Policy and restitution for the benefits paid, which totaled approximately $186, 000.

A settlement conference was held before Magistrate Judge Barry R. Poretz on August 28, 2007. During the conference, the parties agreed on terms of a settlement, which were memorialized in writing. (Mem. Op. at 2.) The agreement provided for a mutual release of all claims, rescission of the Policy, and an acknowledgment that Defendant would receive no further payments. ( Id. ) In consideration, Provident agreed to forgive the money already given to Defendant and to pay him $10, 000. ( Id. at 3.)

On September 7, 2007, Defendant faxed a letter to Provident's attorney stating that he "decided... to reject the offer you made on August 28, 2007, and I accepted at the settlement conference." (Mem. Op. at 3.) Provident responded with a reminder that the agreement was binding and a request that Defendant sign an enclosed dismissal order and accept the check that would follow. ( Id. ) After receiving no further communication from Defendant, Provident filed a Motion to Enter Dismissal Order and for Enforcement of Settlement Agreement. ( Id. ) In response, Defendant sent a letter to the Court asking it to nullify the agreement on the ground that his disability had caused him to experience a high degree of anxiety during the settlement conference. ( Id. )

A hearing was held on November 2, 2007, at which the Court found that a settlement agreement had been reached. The Court entered an Order granting Provident's motion and denying Defendant's request to nullify the agreement. (Mem. Op. at 4.) At the conclusion of the hearing, Defendant accepted the settlement check. ( Id. )

On December 19, 2007, Defendant filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment and a Motion for Extension of Time to File Notice of Appeal. (Mem. Op. at 4.) The Court denied Defendant's Motion to Alter of Amend Judgment as untimely, and similarly denied Defendant's request to extend his time to file an appeal. ( Id. at 4-8.) Petitioner, nevertheless, filed an appeal, which the Fourth Circuit denied per curiam on June 30, 2008. See Provident Life & Acc. Ins. Co. v. Clarke, 284 F.Appx. 54 (4th Cir. 2008).

This case lay dormant until Defendant filed the above mentioned motions in May 2014. As best the Court can discern, Defendant is claiming that the Court should repeal the settlement agreement and impose sanctions because Provident fabricated a pre-existing condition claim against him and used this false information to file the instant lawsuit. (Mot. for Relief from J. at 1, 6-10.) Defendant maintains that the initial complaint in this matter is filled with "fraudulent information" lacking any evidentiary support. ( Id. at 7.) According to Defendant, Provident relied on unsubstantiated testimony from his ex-wife and ignored medical evidence that he did not have MS prior to 1998. ( Id. at 7-8.) Although this case has been closed for nearly six years, Defendant also asks the Court to issue subpoenas for his treating physician, Dr. Carlo Tornatore, his former supervisor, Raymond Price, and Provident's counsel, Edward Starr. (Mot. for Subpoenas at 1-2.)

Having been fully briefed, Defendant's motions are now before the Court.

II. Analysis

A. Motion for Relief from Judgment

The Court will first address Defendant's request to vacate the judgment since the Court's disposition of this issue could ...

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