Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Griffiths v. Aviva London Assignment Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 20, 2016

JOHN GRIFFITHS, Plaintiff,
v.
AVIVA LONDON ASSIGNMENT CORPORATION, AVIVA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, CGU INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE, PLC, ATHENE HOLDING, LTD, ATHENE LONDON ASSIGNMENT CORPORATION AND ATHENE ANNUITY AND LIFE COMPANY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Griffiths is a representative of a putative class of annuity holders. He brings claims against Aviva International Insurance Limited (formerly known as CGU International Insurance, hereinafter “CGU”), as well as several other defendants, for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment. At issue now is defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims against CGU for want of personal jurisdiction.

         II. Background

         A. Factual Background

         In 2001, Griffiths resolved a personal injury suit against the City of Honolulu. Instead of receiving a lump sum settlement, he opted to purchase a structured settlement annuity to ensure a steady income for the rest of his life.

         Griffiths bought the annuity from Aviva Life Insurance Company and Aviva London Assignment Corporation (collectively “Aviva”). Part of the appeal of the annuity was that Aviva had entered into a capital maintenance agreement (“CMA”) with defendant, CGU, by which CGU guaranteed all annuities sold by Aviva. Plaintiff alleges that the guarantee added value, stability and confidence to the annuity. According to plaintiff, the guarantee was represented as being “absolute, unconditional, present and continuing.” In October, 2013, Aviva divested its ownership of Griffiths’ annuity and the obligation was transferred to a company known as Athene London Assignment Corporation. As a result of that transfer, the CMA between Aviva and CGU was terminated and the annuity was no longer guaranteed by CGU.

         CGU is a London-based corporation and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviva PLC, a holding company organized under the laws of England and Wales. CGU has no offices or employees in Massachusetts, pays no Massachusetts taxes and maintains no bank accounts in Massachusetts. CGU had no involvement in the marketing, selling, paying or setting of rates of the annuities at issue and its involvement in this case and in Massachusetts is confined to its role as guarantor of structured settlement annuities sold by Aviva.

         B. Procedural Background

         In July, 2015, Griffiths filed a complaint against CGU and five other defendants. With respect to all defendants, plaintiff alleges breach of contract, breach of a fiduciary duty, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment. Each claim stems from the termination of the CMA between Aviva and CGU. CGU seeks to dismiss all claims against it for lack of personal jurisdiction.

         III. Analysis

         A. Personal Jurisdiction

         In order for a Court’s orders to bind a party, the Court must exercise personal jurisdiction over that party. On a motion to dismiss for want of personal jurisdiction, plaintiff bears the burden of showing that such jurisdiction exists. Massachusetts Sch. of Law v. ABA, 142 F.3d 26, 34 (1st Cir. 1998); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). In conducting this inquiry, the Court accepts the facts put forth by plaintiff and those facts are construed in the light most favorable to plaintiff’s jurisdictional claim. Massachusetts Sch. of Law, 142 F.3d at 34. Additionally, the Court considers as true the facts put forth by defendant to the extent that they are not contradicted. Id.

         Plaintiff must make two showings: that jurisdiction is statutorily authorized, and that the exercise of jurisdiction is consistent with the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. Astro-Med, Inc.v. Nihon Kohden Am., Inc., 591 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2009). Because the Court has jurisdiction over this case based on a diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the Court “is the functional equivalent of a state court sitting in the forum state.” Ticketmaster-New Yorkv. Alioto, 26 F.3d 201, 204 (1st Cir. 1994). In other words, in diversity cases “the district court’s personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant is governed by the forum’s long-arm statute.” Sawtellev. Farrell, 70 F.3d 1381, 1387 (1st Cir. 1995) (quoting Goldman, Antonetti, Ferraiuoli, Axtmayer & Hertellv. Medfit Int’l, Inc., 982 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.