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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

COMBINED INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA v. CHRISTIAN et al

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
1:14-cv-00647 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Middle District of North Carolina
Date Filed: 
Aug 1 2014

Plaintiff Combined Insurance Company of America "(CICA"), by counsel, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1335, 1397, and 2361, states as follows for its Interpleader Complaint against
Defendants Gregory Lee Christian, Darryl Lee Christian, Nancy Kent Bennett, and the Estate of
William Rivers (collectively, "Claimants"):
PARTIES
1. CICA is an Illinois corporation with its principal office in Glenview, Illinois and a
registered office in Glen Allen, Virginia.
2. Upon information and belief, Gregory Lee Christian ("Gregory") resides in
Sanford, North Carolina.
3. Upon information and belief, Darryl Lee Christian ("Darryl") resides in Punta
Gorda, Florida.
4. Upon information and belief, Nancy Kent Bennett ("Nancy") resides in Gibson,
Georgia.
5. The Estate of William Rivers (the "Estate") is being probated in Glascock County
Probate Court in Georgia. Nancy and James Rivers ("James") have been appointed coadministrators
of the Estate.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6. Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1397, because CICA brought this action
in the judicial district where Gregory, one of the Claimants, resides.
7. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1335 and 1337. As required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1335, this is an interpleader filed by a corporation possessing money in an
amount more than $500, and two or more of the adverse Claimants are of diverse citizenship as
defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. CICA seeks to deposit the money into the registry of the court,
there to abide the judgment of the court.
8. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Gregory by virtue of Gregory's
residence in the state of North Carolina. This Court has personal jurisdiction over the remaining
Claimants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2361, which provides for nationwide service on all claimants
in any civil action of interpleader or in the nature of interpleader under 28 U.S.C. § 1335.

FACTS
The Policy
9. On November 6, 1981, American Agency Life Insurance Company, a predecessor
of CICA, issued a $50,000 term life insurance policy to William Rivers (the "Insured") bearing
the Policy Number 000303554 (the "Policy"), attached as Exhibit 1. The Insured is also the
owner of the Policy.
10. When the Policy first issued in 1981, the Insured designated as primary
beneficiary Brenda Rivers ("Brenda"), and as contingent beneficiaries Darryl and Gregory.
Upon information and belief, Brenda was the Insured's wife at the time, and Darryl and Gregory
were his step-sons.
11. The Insured submitted a second beneficiary designation form dated May 31,
1988, attached as Exhibit 2, changing the primary beneficiary of the Policy to his mother, Annie
Van Gibson Rivers ("Annie"). On the form, he did not re-designate Darryl and Gregory as
contingent beneficiaries.
12. Annie predeceased the Insured. She died on August 25, 2011. Her death
certificate is attached as Exhibit 3.
13. Nancy claims that after Annie's death, the Insured filled out and signed a Request
for Policy Service form, attached as Exhibit 4, this time changing his primary beneficiary to
Nancy and his contingent beneficiary to Amanda Mae Douglas ("Amanda"). See Affidavit of
Charlene Morell, \ 4, attached as Exhibit 5. Upon information and belief, Nancy was his fiance,
and Amanda was his daughter. Neither the Insured nor Nancy ever submitted this Request for
Policy Service form to CICA prior to his death. Id.
14. The Insured died on October 3, 2013 while domiciled in Glascock County,
Georgia. His death certificate is attached as Exhibit 6.
Gregory and Darryl's Claims
15. Gregory submitted to CIC A a Proof of Loss Claimant Statement dated March 28,
2014 making a claim under the Policy in his individual capacity. Gregory's Proof of Loss
Claimant Statement is attached as Exhibit 7.
16. Gregory also submitted to CICA a Proof of Loss Claimant Statement dated March
31, 2014 making a claim under the Policy on behalf of Darryl in his capacity as Darryl's
attorney-in-fact. Darryl's Proof of Loss Claimant Statement is attached as Exhibit 8.
17. In March 2004, Darryl executed a Durable Power of Attorney expressly
authorizing Gregory to act in Darryl's stead for tangible person property transactions as well as
claims and litigation. The Durable Power of Attorney is attached as Exhibit 9.
18. Gregory claims that despite the Insured's failure to re-designate him and Darryl as
contingent beneficiaries on the May 31, 1988 beneficiary designation form, the Insured intended
that Gregory and Darryl remain contingent beneficiaries. See Ex. 5 at If 3.
Nancy's Claim
19. Nancy submitted to CICA a Proof of Loss Claimant Statement dated June 2, 2014
making a claim under the Policy in her individual capacity. Nancy's Proof of Loss Claimant
Statement is attached as Exhibit 10.
20. Nancy claims that both she and the Insured forgot to submit the Request for
Policy Service form naming her primary beneficiary and that the Insured intended for her to be
the primary beneficiary. See Ex. 5 at ]f 4.
21. Nancy claims that the Insured did not intend for Darryl and Gregory to receive the
proceeds of the Policy as contingent beneficiaries. See id. She claims that even if the Request
for Policy Service form is not valid to designate her as primary beneficiary, it at least shows, by
designating Amanda as the contingent beneficiary, that the Insured did not intend for Gregory
and Darryl to remain contingent beneficiaries. See id.
The Estate's Claim
22. Nancy and James are co-administrators of the Estate. The Letters of
Administration appointing them as such are attached as Exhibit 11.
23. Nancy and James submitted to CICA a Proof of Loss Claimant Statement dated
April 15, 2014 making a claim under the Policy on behalf of the Estate in their capacities as coadministrators.
The Estate's Proof of Loss Claimant Statement is attached as Exhibit 12.
24. The Estate claims that the Insured did not intend Gregory and Darryl to receive
the proceeds of the Policy. See Ex. 5 at If 6.
25. Further, the Estate has requested that the proceeds of the Policy be paid into
Annie's estate, because Annie was the primary beneficiary of the Policy. See Ex. 5 at If 5.
However, Annie's estate has not submitted a Proof of Loss Claimant Statement making a claim
under the Policy.
26. Additionally, Annie's estate does not have a valid claim to the proceeds. Annie
predeceased the Insured by over two years. By the express terms of the Policy, the beneficiary
must survive the Insured to receive the proceeds. See Ex. 1 at p. 5. Accordingly, Annie's estate
has not been joined in the Interpleader Complaint.
27. However, under the terms of the Policy, in the event that there is no stated
beneficiary living at the death of the Insured, the proceeds of the Policy will be paid to the
owner, if living, and to the owner's estate, if deceased. See id.
28. The owner of the Policy was the Insured.
29. Accordingly, if the claims of Nancy, Gregory, and Darryl all fail, such that there
is no stated beneficiary, the Estate may have a valid claim to the proceeds.

INTERPLEADER
30. CICA reincorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 29 of its Interpleader
Complaint as if fully set forth herein.
31. CICA faces conflicting claims to the proceeds from the Policy. As a result of
these conflicting claims, CICA cannot determine who is entitled to proceeds of the Policy.
32. CICA is now, and at all times has been ready and willing to pay the Policy
proceeds to the party determined to be legally entitled to them.
33. CICA is an innocent stakeholder, and is faced with determining the validity of
conflicting claims. CICA is also faced with the possibility of multiple liability and costs incident
thereto. Therefore, CICA files this Interpleader Complaint.
34. CICA seeks to pay into the registry of this Court the sum of $50,000, the amount
owing under the Policy, plus applicable interest, to abide the orders and judgments of this Court,
unless the Court directs otherwise.
35. CICA brings these interpleader claims in good faith and with diligence.
Therefore, as a disinterested stakeholder, it is entitled to its reasonable costs and attorneys' fees
in connection with this action, to the extent allowed by law.
WHEREFORE, Combined Insurance Company of America prays the following relief:
1. That Claimants be required to interplead and settle between themselves their
rights, if any, to the Policy proceeds tendered to the Court;
2. That the Court permanently enjoin Claimants from prosecuting any proceeding
against CICA with respect to the proceeds of the Policy and that said injunction issue without
bond or security;
3. That CICA be allowed to deposit the Policy proceeds, plus applicable interest,
with the registry of this Court;
4. That CICA be released and fully and finally discharged from all liability to these
Claimants on all matters relating to the Policy by reason of payment of the proceeds of the Policy
into this Court;
5. That CICA recover its costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees in
connection with this action, to the extent allowed by law, all sums to be paid out of the funds
deposited into the registry of the Court and prior to any award to any prevailing Claimant; and
6. That CICA be awarded any other relief that the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: August 1, 2014

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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