When a life insurance company faces multiple claims on the income from a life insurance policy and is ready to pay but can not decide who to pay, the law allows an insurance company to bring the income from the policy to court and sue the potential beneficiaries through an interpreting measure. I 5 Star Life Insurance Company v. Monica Smith, et al., 2: 19-cv-00095-ACA, United States District Court For the Northern District Of Alabama Southern Division (October 23, 2020) 5 Star Life Insurance Company ("5 Star") moved the USDC to dismiss the defendants who did not respond to the suit and asked it to decide on guards ad litem Cindy Webb's petition for law firms and 5 Star & # 39 ;s petition for attorney fees and costs.
The work of the Court was simplified, as only one party to the interpleader action provided evidence in favor of their claim: the minor children of the deceased through their guardians ad litem .
5 Star issued a group life insurance policy that covered Steven Small in the amount of $ 15,000. Small died without appointing a beneficiary and 5 Star submitted this action to an interpreter to determine who is entitled to Mr. Smalls insurance income. In the absence of a named beneficiary, the policy stipulates that the income can be paid to (1) the insured's surviving spouse, (2) the insured's children, (3) the insured's parents or (4) the insured's brothers and sisters. Five-star identified nine potential claims on Mr. Small's Insurance Income: Monica Smith, Brittany Boyd, Crystal Boyd, Shennell Fisher, George Poole, Gloria Small, GS, FS and SS
Monica Smith and Shennell Fisher both claim to be Mr. Small's surviving husband. Gloria Small claims to be Mr. Smalls beneficiaries based on a writing by Mr. Small before his death. Brittany Boyd and Crystal Boyd claim to be Mr. Smalls adult children. George Poole claims to be Mr. Smalls far. Finally, through their guardian ad litem GS, FS and SS claim that they are Mr. Smalls minor children.
Brittany Boyd, Crystal Boyd, Ms. Smith, Ms. Small and the smaller children all submitted timely responses to 5 Star & # 39 ;s complaints. Fisher and Poole, however, could not file a responsive submission. Therefore, the Clerk went into bankruptcy against Ms Fisher and Mr. Poole and 5 Star then moved for bankruptcy.
Ms. Webb provide the court with a guardian ad litem report in which she recommends that the minor children share the insurance income in equal proportions. Mrs. Webb also produced the birth certificates of the younger children to establish Mr. Smalls paternity. Apart from the minor children, no party has submitted evidence to the court that supports their claim to the insurance income.
Both Mr. Poole and Ms. Fisher are named and served correctly respondents who have not responded to interpleader complaints. Consequently, the Clerk went in by default against Mr. Poole and Ms. Fisher. Due to their failure to appeal or otherwise defend this interpleater lawsuit, Mr. Poole and Ms. Fisher both forfeited all claims to rights they would otherwise have had on the deceased's life insurance income. Thus, a neglect of the judgment in the case against them was correct.
5 Star filed this interpleader action so that the court could "determine which of Interpleader's defendants is entitled to the revenue." 5 Star makes no claim on insurance income and seeks to avoid multiple liability by asking the court to determine the rightful owner of the asset.
According to the Alabama Act, the birth certificate is proof of Mr. Smalls paternity. No party to this action has denied that Mr. Small is the father of minor children. Since the insurance policy shows the insured's children as a class of beneficiaries if there is no named beneficiary, and no other party has provided evidence to support a claim, the court concluded that minor children were entitled to the insurance income.
In an interpleader action, law firms and costs are allocated according to the court's assessment. The court appointed Mrs Webb to represent minors in this case. Webb spent 7.1 hours reviewing the submissions and the law in this case, talking to the mother of minor children, obtaining the children's birth certificates and preparing their report. Consequently, Mrs Webb is entitled to law firms in the amount of $ 2100 to be paid by the interpleted funds.
In order to maintain the limited insurance income for Mr. Small's beneficiaries, and since this interpleader's action arose from 5 Star's normal business, the court denied 5 Star's claim for a bar.
Although the insurer usually transfers funds to court, its fees will be paid from the interpleted funds. Since the income from the insurance was limited and the insurers are not a favored dispute, the guardian was paid and the insurer was not paid so that the children could get more money. It is appropriate that a court, which trades in equity, do as the USDC and the insurer were protected from competing claims. Interpleader is an important tool for all insurers who face several claims for income, regardless of whether it concerns life, property or accident insurance. to serve as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, infidelity and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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