United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on third-party defendant Gail
Williamson's (“Williamson”) motion to
dismiss, ECF No. 84, and third-party defendant Shannon
Horning's (“Horning”) motion to dismiss, ECF
No. 89. The court grants both motions to dismiss.
Farm is an insurance company incorporated in the state of
Illinois with its principal place of business in Illinois.
Candice Murphy (“Murphy”) is a resident of
Charleston County and is the mother of two minor children who
are also residents of Charleston County and who are named
defendants in this action (collectively, the “Murphy
defendants”). The minor defendants were born on January
26, 2005 and December 11, 2006 to Murphy and John McMeeking
(“McMeeking”). Murphy and McMeeking were married
on May 27, 2006. State Farm issued a life insurance policy to
McMeeking on October 14, 2009 with a policy date of September
23, 2009. Compl., Ex. A. Murphy was designated as beneficiary
of $100, 000.00 of the policy, and other persons were
designated beneficiaries for the remainder of the basic plan
amount of the policy. McMeeking and Murphy entered into a
separation agreement on June 22, 2010, which provided that
both parties shall have life insurance of $100, 000.00
“and shall maintain these at this level for the benefit
of the children.” Compl., Ex. B. On August 5, 2010, a
family court judge issued a final order approving the
agreement and adopting it as the order of the court. Compl.,
Ex. C. The final order of divorce did not provide by its
express terms that McMeeking and Murphy's divorce would
not revoke McMeeking's prior designation of Murphy as to
beneficiary of the life insurance process. On October 30,
2012, McMeeking signed a change of beneficiary form listing
Murphy as beneficiary of $100, 000.00, Stuart McMeeking as
beneficiary of $75, 000.00, and Shannon Horning as
beneficiary of $75, 000.00. See Compl., Ex. D. On
March 17, 2014, a family court judge issued a final order of
divorce. See Compl., Ex. E. The final order of
divorce did not state that, notwithstanding Murphy and
McMeeking's divorce, Murphy was to remain as beneficiary
of $100, 000.00 under the policy.
August 2, 2015, McMeeking died. Murphy was appointed personal
representative of his estate on August 11, 2015. Murphy
submitted a life insurance claim form claiming benefits under
the policy on August 18, 2015. Id. Ex. F. State Farm
provided written notice on October 15, 2015 to Murphy that
she was not qualified from receiving the $100, 000 in life
insurance proceeds under S.C. Code Ann. § 62-2-507,
which states in pertinent part:
Revocation by divorce, annulment, and order terminating
marital property rights . . .
(c) Except as provided by the express terms of a governing
instrument, a court order, or a contract relating to the
division of the marital estate made between the divorced
individuals before or after the marriage, divorce or
annulment, the divorce or annulment of a marriage:
(1) revokes any revocable:
(i) disposition or appointment of property or beneficiary
designation made by a divorced individual to the divorced
individual's former spouse in a governing instrument; [.]
Farm filed an interpleader action on December 1, 2015 against
Murphy and GMM, seeking guidance from the court on how to
distribute the $100, 000 portion of the proceeds of the
policy in light of the statutory restrictions of S.C. Code
Ann. § 62-2-507. On March 10, 2016 the court entered an
order for interpleader directing State Farm to pay $101,
028.50 into the court. ECF No. 19. State Farm paid $101,
028.50 into the court on March 10, 2016. ECF No. 21.
3, 2016, the Murphy defendants initiated the instant
third-party action against third party defendant Gail
Williamson (“Williamson”), a State Farm insurance
agent, and Shannon Horning (“Horning”), a
beneficiary of the policy, for intentional interference with
a contractual relationship and civil conspiracy. ECF No. 33.
Williamson filed a motion to dismiss on January 19, 2017, ECF
No. 84, to which Murphy responded on February 2, 2017, ECF
No. 90, and Williamson replied on February 9, 2017, ECF No.
92. Horning filed a motion to dismiss on February 2, 2017,
ECF No. 89, to which Murphy responded on February 16, 2017.
ECF No. 94. The court held a hearing on February 21, 2017.
The motions have been fully briefed and are ripe for the
12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted “challenges the legal sufficiency
of a complaint.” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588
F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted); see
also Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943,
952 (4th Cir. 1992) (“A motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6)  does not resolve contests surrounding the facts,
the merits of a claim, or the applicability of
defenses.”). To be legally sufficient, a pleading must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
12(b)(6) motion should not be granted unless it appears
certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts that
would support his claim and would entitle him to relief.
Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th
Cir. 1993). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
court should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and
should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Ostrzenski v. Seigel, 177 F.3d 245, 251
(4th Cir. 1999). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). ...