United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MICHAEL PROCTOR, an Individual, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
GLOBE LIFE AND ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
MILES-LaGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification,
filed September 23, 2016. On November 4, 2016, defendant
filed its response, and on December 2, 2016, plaintiff filed
his reply. Based upon the parties' submissions, the Court
makes its determination.
1951, defendant has sold life insurance policies to people
throughout the United States. The “Premium and
Reinstatement” provisions in defendant's life
insurance policies are substantially similar. The policies
all provide that (1) premiums are payable in advance of the
due date; (2) there is a 31 day grace period during which the
policy will stay in force and during which premiums can be
paid; (3) if the premium is not paid during the grace period,
the policy will lapse; and (4) if the policy lapses, the
insured can ask that it be reinstated and the policy will be
reinstated if the following three conditions are met: (a) the
written request is received within a certain time period of
the due date of the first unpaid premium; (b) the insured
shows that he is still insurable; and (c) the insured pays
all overdue premiums. Over the years, defendant has developed
certain practices regarding the payment of premiums. Those
practices are as follows: (1) there is a 31 day grace period
in which to make a payment from the due date; after the grace
period has passed, the policy is lapsed and the coverage is
not active; (2) when a policy has lapsed beyond the 31 day
grace period, defendant will accept payment up to 120 days
lapsed without reinstatement provided the insured is in good
health (if not in good health, reinstatement is required);
and (3) after the 120th day of lapse, payment cannot be
accepted and the insured must apply for reinstatement and pay
all back premiums to bring the policy current in order for
reinstatement to be considered.
the instant action, plaintiff is challenging defendant's
practice during the period when the policy is lapsed between
32 and 120 days. Plaintiff contends that this practice is
directly and expressly contrary to the provisions of
defendant's life insurance policies. Plaintiff asserts
that whenever defendant accepts premiums on a life insurance
policy that has already lapsed, in any amount less than all
of the overdue premiums, such that the policy is not brought
current and reinstated at that time, those premiums should be
returned to the insured.
now moves this Court to certify a nationwide class in this
case. Specifically, plaintiff moves to certify the following
All Globe policyholders residing in the United States
(including its Territories and the District of Columbia) that
paid Globe life insurance policy premium payments, which
Globe retained, at a time when that life insurance policy was
already lapsed and was not reinstated with such payment.
Motion for Class Certification and Brief in Support at 6.
Excluded from plaintiff's proposed class are
(i) Defendant Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company, any
parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of Defendant, (ii) any
entity in which Defendant has a controlling interest; (iii)
any of Defendant's officers or directors; (iv) any
successor or assign of Defendant; (v) anyone employed by
counsel for Plaintiff; (vi) any Judge to whom this case is
assigned, his or her spouse, and all members of their
families; (vii) persons who have settled with and validly
released Defendant from separate claims against Defendant
based on the conduct alleged herein; (viii) any and all
federal, state or local government entity, including but not
limited to, their associated departments, agencies,
divisions, bureaus, boards, sections, groups, councils,
and/or any other subdivision, and any claim that such
governmental entity(ies) may have directly or indirectly;
(ix) class counsel; (x) the Judges of any court which this
case is assigned; (xi) any persons who Plaintiff's
counsel are prohibited from representing under Rule 1.7 of
the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct.
class action is an exception to the usual rule that
litigation is conducted by and on behalf of the individual
named parties only.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 348 (2011) (internal quotations and
citation omitted). “To come within the exception, a
party seeking to maintain a class action must affirmatively
demonstrate his compliance with Rule 23.” Comcast
Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426, 1432 (2013) (internal
quotations and citation omitted). The plaintiff ultimately
bears the burden of showing that the Rule 23 requirements are
met, and this Court must engage in its own “rigorous
analysis” to ensure that certification is appropriate.
See Shook v. El Paso Cty., 386 F.3d 963, 968 (10th
Rule of Civil Procedure 23 provides, in pertinent part:
(a) Prerequisites. One or more members of a class may sue or
be sued as representative parties on behalf of ...