United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
C. NORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Murphy's motion to
reconsider the court's May 19, 2017 order dismissing
Murphy's amended third-party complaint. ECF No. 132. The
court denies Murphy's motion for reconsideration.
Farm is an insurance company incorporated in the state of
Illinois with its principal place of business in Illinois.
Compl. ¶ 1. 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. Id. ¶ 2. The minor
defendants were born on January 26, 2005 and December 11,
2006 to Murphy and John McMeeking (“McMeeking”).
Id. ¶¶ 5, 7. Murphy and McMeeking were
married on May 27, 2006. Id. ¶ 6. State Farm
issued a life insurance policy to McMeeking on October 14,
2009 with a policy date of September 23, 2009. Id.
¶ 8; 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. Id. ¶ 10. 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.” Id. ¶
9; see also 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 On August 2, 2015, McMeeking
died. Compl. ¶ 14. Murphy was appointed personal
representative of his estate on August 11, 2015. Id.
¶ 15. 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 disqualified to
receive 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 resrictions. 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. On
March 10, 2016 State Farm paid $101, 028.50 into the court.
ECF No. Murphy's motion to reconsider is ripe for the
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) provides that “[a] motion
to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28
days after the entry of the judgment.” While Rule 59(e)
does not supply a standard to guide the court's exercise
of its power to alter or amend, the Fourth Circuit has
recognized that a court may grant a Rule 59(e) motion
“only in very narrow circumstances: (1) to accommodate
an intervening change in controlling law, (2) to account for
new evidence not available at trial, or (3) to correct a
clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice.”
Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 708 (4th Cir. 2002).
Rule 59(e) motions may not be used to make arguments that
could have been made before the judgment was entered. See
Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d
396, 403 (4th Cir. 1998). Moreover, “[a] party's
mere disagreement with the court's ruling does not
warrant a Rule 59(e) motion, and such a motion should not be
used to rehash arguments previously presented or to submit
evidence which should have been previously submitted.”
Sams v. Heritage Transp., Inc., 2013 WL 4441949, at
*1 (D.S.C. August 15, 2013).
59(e) provides an “extraordinary remedy that should be
used sparingly.” Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at
403 (internal citation omitted); Wright v. Conley,
2013 WL 314749, at *1 (D.S.C. Jan. 28, 2013). Whether to
alter or amend a judgment under Rule 59(e) is within the
sound discretion of the district court. Bogart v.
Chapell, 396 F.3d 548, 555 (4th Cir. 2005).