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Rogers v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
167 F.3d 933 (1999)


Facts

Rogers (plaintiff), an employee of Entergy Corporation, sought long-term disability benefits from the company. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company (Hartford) (defendant) insured Entergy’s long-term disability plan. Hartford denied Rogers’s claim. Rogers filed a complaint against Hartford. A Hartford registered agent waived service of process, notified a Hartford senior claims examiner, and sent the complaint and waiver to Hartford’s office. However, the complaint never reached Hartford’s office, and Hartford never made another attempt to obtain the complaint. Hartford did not respond timely to Rogers’s complaint. As a result, the district court clerk filed an entry of default. The district court held a hearing and entered a default judgment against Hartford. The district court had not given Hartford notice of the default judgment. When Hartford found out about the default, it filed a motion to set aside the judgment. The district court denied the motion. Hartford appealed, arguing (1) that its failure to respond timely was due to excusable neglect, and (2) that its waiver of service constituted an appearance, thus entitling Hartford to be notified of the default judgment hearing pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Garza, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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