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UniCare Life & Health Ins. Co. v. Gilbert

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

December 9, 2019

UNICARE LIFE & HEALTH INS. CO.
v.
ROSLYN HEROD GILBERT, ET AL.

          MARK L. HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE.

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending here is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Roslyn Herod-Gilbert (“Herod-Gilbert”) [Doc. No. 53]. Defendant Trulanda F. Wells (“Wells”) has filed an opposition [Doc. No. 55]. Defendant James D. Hunter (“Hunter”) did not file an opposition. Herod-Gilbert has filed a reply to Wells' opposition [Doc. No. 59].

         For the following reasons, Herod-Gilbert's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This is an interpleader action for the benefits from a life insurance policy insuring the life of James D. Gilbert (“James Gilbert”). Plaintiff UniCare Life & Health Insurance Company (“UniCare”) deposited the benefits into the Court's registry and then obtained a dismissal [Doc. No. 37]. The remaining Defendants are Herod-Gilbert, who is James Gilbert's surviving spouse and the designated beneficiary; Wells, a daughter of James Gilbert; and Hunter, a son of James Gilbert.

         James Gilbert was a participant in an employee welfare benefit plan including a group life instance policy issued by UniCare providing for a benefit in the amount of $53, 000.00 upon his death.

         On April 7, 2');">2');">2');">201');">15, James Gilbert executed a beneficiary change form which designated “Roslyn Herod, ” whose “relationship” was stated to be “Friend, ” as the beneficiary of the policy [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, p.7]. It was stamped as received by UniCare on April 1');">14, 2');">2');">2');">201');">15 [Id.].

         On October 7, 2');">2');">2');">201');">15, James Gilbert signed a second beneficiary change form, which again designated “Roslyn Herod” as the beneficiary. On this form, the relationship was stated to be “Fiancé.” [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, 1');">10');">p. 1');">10]. It was stamped as received by UniCare on October 1');">13, 2');">2');">2');">201');">15. [Id.].

         On November 4, 2');">2');">2');">201');">15, James Gilbert and Roslyn Herod were married in Caddo Parish, Louisiana [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 1');">12');">2');">2');">2, Certificate of Marriage License].

         On March 2');">2');">2');">28, 2');">2');">2');">201');">18, James Gilbert granted a Power of Attorney to Wells [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, pp. 2');">2');">2');">25-2');">2');">2');">27].

         On April 2');">2');">2');">26, 2');">2');">2');">201');">18, James Gilbert executed a Last Will and Testament, which names Wells as his primary legatee [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, pp. 1');">14-2');">2');">2');">23].

         By letter dated April 30, 2');">2');">2');">201');">18, UniCare informed Wells that its insured James Gilbert has “Group Term Life Insurance through Ford Motor company, administered by UniCare, in the amount of $53, 000.” UniCare further stated the “coverage is a death benefit payable only upon the death of our insured to his last-named beneficiary of record. At this time the insured has Roslyn Herod, Fiance 1');">100% designated as the beneficiary.” [Doc. No. 1');">12');">2');">2');">2-1');">1, p. 5].

         On May 8, 2');">2');">2');">201');">18, James Gilbert revoked the Power of Attorney in favor of Wells dated March 2');">2');">2');">28, 2');">2');">2');">201');">18, [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 30] and executed a new Power of Attorney in favor of Herod-Gilbert [Doc. No. 53-2');">2');">2');">2, pp. 2');">2');">2');">28-2');">2');">2');">29].

         James Gilbert died on May 1');">18, 2');">2 ...


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