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

COMBINED INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA v. GLASS et al

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Case Number: 
1:14-cv-01458 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
District of Colorado
Date Filed: 
May 23 2014

COMPLAINT IN INTERPLEADER
Combined Insurance Company of America ("Combined"), by and through its
undersigned counsel, Kevin E. O'Brien and Leslie A. Kendrick of Hall & Evans, LLC, for its
Complaint in Interpleader in the above-captioned matter, hereby states and alleges as follows:

STATEMENT OF ACTION
1. This is a civil action in the nature of Interpleader pursuant to 28 USCS § 1335 and
Fed.R.Civ.P. 22 seeking a determination by the Court as to the proper beneficiary of insurance
benefits payable by Combined under an insurance policy issued Richard E. Gerbitz (the
"Decedent" or "Insured"). The life insurance policy at issue is an Accident Only Policy
AR6499522 (the "Policy"). A true and correct copy of the Policy is attached hereto as Exhibit
1.
PARTIES
1. Combined is an insurance company existing under the laws of the state of Illinois,
with its home office located in Illinois.
2. Jennifer Glass ("Ms. Glass") is an individual and is believed to be a resident of
the State of Colorado with a last known address of 245 NW 5th Street, Cedaredge, Colorado.
3. Alan Gerbitz ("Mr. Gerbitz") is an individual and is believed to be a resident of
the State of Illinois with a last known address of 1057 Shabbona Trail, Batavia, Illinois.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE
4. This Court has original jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1335
because the controversy involves multiple and conflicting claims to life insurance benefits due
under a life insurance policy and involves a policy of insurance, in the amount of $500.00 or
more. See 28 U.S.C. 1335(a). Diversity of citizenship exists under the 28 U.S.C. § 1335 as the
adverse claimants are of diverse citizenship..
5. Venue is proper in this district under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391 and 1397 because at least
one of the claimants resides in this District.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
6. Combined issued the Policy to Decedent in 2004. The face value of the Policy's
death benefit is $72,000. Exhibit 1.
7. Decedent died on February 1, 2014. A copy of the Certificate of Death is
attached hereto as Exhibit 2.
8. By reason of the death of the Decedent, Combined is required to pay the death
benefit under the Policy to the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated by the Decedent, or
otherwise in accordance with the provisions of the Policy and controlling law.
9. In 2004, Decedent named his friend, Ms. Glass, as his primary beneficiary under
the Policy. He did not name a contingent beneficiary. A copy of this designation and relevant
correspondence are attached hereto as Exhibit 3.
10. Combined was informed of Decedent's death on April of 2014 via a claim for the
benefits filed by the insured's brother, Alan Gerbitz ("Mr. Gerbitz"). Mr. Gerbitz has claimed
that Ms. Glass should not be the beneficiary under the policy and that the Insured meant to
change the beneficiary to the Insured himself. Exhibit 4 Mr. Gerbitz, acting as the representative
of the Insured's Estate, claims that the Estate is entitled to the benefits under the policy.
11. On May 12, 2014, Ms. Glass submitted a "Beneficiary Statement for Life
insurance claim for the proceeds of the Life Insurance Benefits. Exhibit 5. Ms. Glass' attorney
wrote a letter to Combined stating that Ms. Glass is the appropriate beneficiary. Exhibit 6.
12. At the time of the filing of this Interpleader Complaint, Mr. Gerbitz and Ms. Glass
have not reached an agreement regarding the disbursement of benefits due under the Policy.
13. Combined claims no interest in the benefits due under the Policy, with the
exception of reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in relation to this Interpleader
Complaint.
14. Combined has in no way colluded with either of the claimants and takes no
position regarding the accuracy of the conflicting claims of the claimants.
15. As a result of the continuing and conflicting claims of Ms. Gerbitz and the Estate
of Richard Gerbitz, acting through Ms. Gerbitz, this Interpleader action is necessary to ensure
that benefits totaling $72,000, plus any applicable interest, are paid to the proper person(s).

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
16. Combined incorporates by reference the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1
through 15 above, as if fully set forth herein.
17. Combined is, and at all relevant times has been, ready and willing to pay the
benefits arising from the Policy to the person or persons legally entitled thereto. However,
because of the conflicting claims of the Defendants, Combined is unable to determine who
should receive such benefits without exposing itself to potential double liability.
18. Combined is a mere payor with respect to the amount at issue and claims no
beneficial interest in the death benefit proceeds.
19. Combined therefore seeks a declaration of this Court as to the proper beneficiary
or beneficiaries with respect to death benefits payable under the Policy.

SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
20. Combined incorporates by reference the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1
through 19 above, as if fully set forth herein.
21. Combined requests that this Court enter an Order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2361
restraining Defendants from instituting or prosecuting any proceeding in any Court affecting the
Policy involved in this interpleader action until further Order of this Court.

THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF
22. Combined incorporates by reference the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1
through 21 above, as if fully set forth herein.
23. Combined has retained the undersigned counsel to protect its interests with
respect to the conflicting claims of the Defendants. Combined has incurred and will incur
liability for legal fees and other costs and expenses in connection with necessary actions of
counsel to protect its interests.
24. The actions of the Defendants have required, and will require, Combined to take
continuing action to protect against the potential for double liability. Combined should be
allowed to recover its attorneys' fees, costs and other disbursements and expenses in this action,
and any such amounts should be charged against the policy benefit proceeds which Combined
seeks to deposit with the registry of the Court.

WHEREFORE, Combined Insurance Company of America respectfully requests that this
Court enter an Order:
(a) declaring to whom the benefits under the Policy, plus any applicable statutory
interest, should be paid and directing the clerk of the Court to make payment
accordingly from the monies deposited by Plaintiff with the registry of the Court
in connection with this action;
(b) providing that, after deposit by Plaintiff of the above-described insurance benefit
proceeds, Plaintiff shall be released and discharged from further appearance or
attendance in connection with this action, that Plaintiff further be released and
discharged from any further liability with respect to any and all benefits payable
on account of the death of Decedent, that Plaintiff recover its costs and attorneys'
fees (as set forth in its Third Claim for Relief), and that Plaintiff be dismissed
with prejudice from this action; and
(c) Order such other and further relief as is just and proper under the circumstances.
Dated this 23rd day of May, 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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