Metropolitan Life Insur. v. Little

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Insurance Law

, New York Law Journal

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Judge Brian Cogan

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) had issued a life insurance policy to a former employee of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The employee had designated her grandson as a forty percent beneficiary of the policy proceeds and her son as the other sixty percent beneficiary. The employee was murdered and the grandson pleaded guilty to murdering her. MetLife paid the son sixty percent of the policy proceeds, and then commenced the instant interpleader action for instructions on what to do with the other forty percent. The son has filed a counterclaim against MetLife to recover all of the remaining proceeds. The grandson has been served and has defaulted. Since MetLife could face exposure should it pay either the son or grandson without the protection of a court order, and since the grandson had forfeited any claim to the proceeds by default and under the Slayer's Rule, the court concluded that the grounds for awarding MetLife relief under equitable interpleader were present. Accordingly the court awarded MetLife a decree absolving it of liability for any claims that may be made in the future, and awarded MetLife $5,000 in attorney fees for its trouble in sorting out the parties' rights.

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