United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
STANDARD INSURANCE CO.
CHRISTOPHER DILLON, ET AL.
J. BARBIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
(Rec. Doc. 20) filed by defendant, Jonathan
Dillon, an opposition thereto (Rec. Doc. 24) filed by
defendant, Christopher Dillon, and a reply (Rec. Doc. 33)
filed by Jonathan Dillon. Having considered the motion and
legal memoranda, the record, and the applicable law, the
Court finds that the motion should be
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
litigation derives from the death of Robin Dillon, the mother
of defendants, Jonathan Dillon and Christopher Dillon.
Jonathan Dillon and Christopher Dillon are named as equal
beneficiaries of Robin Dillon's life insurance policy
issued by Standard Insurance Company
(“Standard”). Under the terms of the policy, a
life insurance benefit of $30, 000 and an accidental death
and dismemberment benefit of $30, 000, plus interest, became
due and payable to the two brothers as a result of Robin
Dillon's unfortunate death. Standard paid Jonathan Dillon
his portion of the benefits on June 27, 2014; however, on May
2, 2017, after being notified that Christopher Dillon had
been criminally charged with the murder of Robin Dillon, and
in an effort to escape any liability for the improper payment
of the benefits, Standard commenced the instant statutory
interpleader action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1335.
Standard was subsequently dismissed from the case on
September 27, 2017.
Dillon filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment
(Rec. Doc. 20) arguing that his brother is disqualified from
receiving any of the proceeds from their mother's life
insurance policy. The record reflects that Christopher Dillon
was criminally charged with the murder of Robin Dillon, but
was found incompetent to stand trial by the Twenty-Second
Judicial District Court, St. Tammany Parish. Due to his
alleged involvement in their mother's death, Jonathan
Dillon contends that his brother is prohibited from taking as
her beneficiary under Louisiana law. Christopher Dillon
opposes the motion and argues that the motion should be
denied because it is not supported by competent summary
judgment evidence. The motion is now before the Court on the
briefs and without oral argument.
judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56); Little
v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
When assessing whether a dispute as to any material fact
exists, a court considers “all of the evidence in the
record but refrains from making credibility determinations or
weighing the evidence.” Delta & Pine Land Co.
v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395, 398
(5th Cir. 2008). All reasonable inferences are drawn in favor
of the nonmoving party, but a party cannot defeat summary
judgment with conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated
assertions. Little, 37 F.3d at 1075. A court
ultimately must be satisfied that “a reasonable jury
could not return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Delta, 530 F.3d at 399.
dispositive issue is one on which the moving party will bear
the burden of proof at trial, the moving party “must
come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a
directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at
trial.” Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's,
Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1264-65 (5th Cir. 1991) (internal
citations omitted). The nonmoving party can then defeat the
motion by either countering with sufficient evidence of its
own, or “showing that the moving party's evidence
is so sheer that it may not persuade the reasonable
fact-finder to return a verdict in favor of the moving
party.” Id. at 1265.
dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party will
bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may
satisfy its burden by merely pointing out that the evidence
in the record is insufficient with respect to an essential
element of the nonmoving party's claim. See
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. The burden then shifts to the
nonmoving party, who must, by submitting or referring to
evidence, set out specific facts showing that a genuine issue
exists. See Id. at 324. The nonmovant may not rest
upon the pleadings, but must identify specific facts that
establish a genuine issue for trial. See, e.g.,
id. at 325; Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
law forbids a beneficiary from receiving insurance benefits
when, inter alia, the beneficiary's intentional
acts caused the benefits to accrue. Specifically, LSA-R.S.
§ 22:901(D) provides:
(1) No beneficiary, assignee, or other payee under any
personal insurance contract shall receive from the insurer
any benefits under the contract accruing upon the death,
disablement, or injury of the individual insured when the
beneficiary, assignee, or other payee is either:
(a) Held by a final judgment of a court of competent
jurisdiction to be criminally responsible for the death,
disablement, or ...