Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

GUARDIAN LIFE INS. CO. OF AMERICA v. MADOLE

March 29, 1999

THE GUARDIAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-INTERPLEADER,
v.
JUDITH A. MADOLE, DEFENDANT, V. ANNE K. KINSKEY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Deborah Ann Robinson, United States Magistrate Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On January 1, 1990, plaintiff issued a life insurance policy purchased by the law firm of Speiser, Krause & Madole, P.C. Complaint, ¶ 8. Donald Madole married defendant Judith Madole in August, 1990. See Complaint, Exhibit E. On October 9, 1996, Donald Madole died. Complaint, ¶ 9. According to plaintiff's files, the designated beneficiary on the policy at the time of Donald Madole's death was his daughter, defendant Kinskey. Complaint, ¶ 10. No beneficiary change form was on file with plaintiff. Id. On or about November 15, 1996, plaintiff received a claimant's certificate from defendant Judith Madole, Donald Madole's widow and the executrix of his estate. Complaint, ¶ 9. On or about January 7, 1997, plaintiff received a claimant's certificate from defendant Kinskey. Complaint, ¶ 11.

On February 10, 1997, plaintiff received from defendant Judith Madole's counsel copies of two letters. Complaint, ¶ 12. The first letter, "proportedly submitted" to plaintiff on July 31, 1990, was from Cathy Sweetman, the insurance coordinator for the firm of Spieser, Krause & Madole, P.C. The writer states that Donald Madole "does wish to add his new wife to his insurance coverage" effective September 1, 1990, and that "[e]nclosed you will find a beneficiary change form[.]" Id. Plaintiff maintains that no beneficiary change form was attached. Id. The second letter, "proportedly sent" to plaintiff on August 6, 1990 by Donald Madole requests that Judith Madole be added to his insurance coverage. Complaint, ¶ 13. Plaintiff has been unable to locate or confirm receipt of either letter, or of any beneficiary change form. Complaint, ¶ 14.

On or about October 16, 1997, Cathy Sweetman, whose name appears as the author of the July 31, 1990 letter, sent a letter to plaintiff in which she stated that she had "no independent recollection of writing the [July 31, 1990] letter or any conversation with Donald Madole concerning the contents of the letter. Also, I have no recollection of mailing the letter." Complaint, Exhibit 1. Ms. Sweetman stated that she had "no other documents concerning this matter in [her] files." Id.

In her answer to the Complaint, defendant Kinskey maintains that the documents upon which defendant Madole relies "do not alter or impact upon the unambiguous identification of Mrs. Kinskey as the sole beneficiary of the Life Insurance Policy in question, nor do the documents comply with the written terms of the Guardian policy for affecting a change in the named beneficiary under the Life Insurance portion of the Guardian policy." See Defendant Kinskey's Answer at 1.

In her answer to the Complaint, defendant Madole "denies any inference that the reference to the beneficiary change form is not effective and valid as to a change in designated beneficiary to that of defendant Madole." Defendant, Judith Madole's, Answer and Claim Under Federal Interpleader Act, ¶ 19.

  13. It is undisputed that at the time of enrollment,
  Mr. Madole named Mrs. Kinskey as the beneficiary on
  his enrollment form. See Exhibit 2, p. 2.
  14. In Mrs. Kinskey's Request for Admissions, she
  asked Ms. Madole to admit the following:
  4. Defendant Madole does not have in her possession
  any document written by the Guardian or at its
  direction which notifies Mr. Donald W. Madole of a
  change in the named beneficiary of the Guardian Life
  Insurance Policy which is the subject of his
  litigation.

In response, Ms. Madole admitted that she does not[.]

Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute in Support of Defendant Kinskey's Motion for Summary Judgment at 5, ¶¶ 13-14.

Defendant Madole, in her opposition to defendant Kinskey's motion for summary judgment, submits that ERISA does not apply, and that substantive common law must be applied to determine the proper beneficiary. See Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant Kinskey's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Madole's Opposition") at 7. Defendant Madole maintains that "the insured undertook affirmative acts designed to comply with the requirement as to change of beneficiary[,]" and that "[his] intentions should be given effect." ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.