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New York Life Insurance Co. v. Aleandre

United States District Court, Second Circuit

January 2, 2014

NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHANNE LIONEL ALEANDRE and KIMBERLY LIONEL, Defendants.

LAW OFFICES OF ERIC DINNOCENZO, Eric Dinnocenzo, Esq., New York, NY, Attorney for the Defendant Johanne Lionel Aleandre.

WHITE AND WILLIAMS LLP, Andrew Hamelsky, Esq., New York, NY, Attorney for Plaintiff.

OPINION

ROBERT W. SWEET, District Judge.

Plaintiff New York Life Insurance Company ("NY Life") seeks interpleader pursuant to Rule 22, to deposit the funds of the life insurance policies of Defendant Johanne Lionel Aleandre ("Aleandre") with the Court's registry pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 67, and for attorneys' fees and costs. Defendant Aleandre cross moves for default judgment against Defendant Kimberly Lionel ("Kimberly"), and for NY Life to be ordered to pay amounts due and owing directly to Defendant Aleandre.

Upon the facts and conclusions set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied in part, and Defendant Aleandre's motion is denied.

Facts & Procedural History

Marie D. Lionel (the "Insured") was issued a Life Insurance Policy on November 26, 2001 ("Policy 1"). (Compl. Ex. 1.) The Insured was also issued a second Life Insurance Policy which became effective on September 23, 2008 ("Policy 2"). (Compl. Ex. 2.) Both policies have a face amount value of $50, 000.00, and the benefit amount payable upon the Insured's death under each policy was $50, 000.00. The Insured identified the beneficiaries to both policies as her daughter, Kimberly, and her sister, Aleandre, with each receiving fifty percent. (Compl. Exs. 3-4.)

Policy 1 contains the following pertinent provision under ยง 2.4:

Beneficiary The beneficiary for any life insurance proceeds is the person or entity named in the application, or in a notice you sign that gives us the information we need. If more than one beneficiary is named, they can be classified as first, second, and so on. If two or more are named in a class, their share in the proceeds is equal, unless you state otherwise. The stated shares will be paid to any first beneficiaries who survive the Insured. If no first beneficiaries survive, payment will be made to any beneficiary surviving in the second class, and so on.

(Compl. Ex. 1.)

Policy 2 contains the following pertinent provision:

Naming of Beneficiary The stated shares of the proceeds will be paid to any first beneficiaries who survive the Insured. If no first beneficiaries survive, payment will be made to any beneficiary surviving in the second class, and so on. Beneficiaries who survive in the same class have an equal share in the proceeds, unless the shares are stated otherwise.

(Compl. Ex. 2.)

The Insured died on August 17, 2011. NY Life learned that the Insured had suffered a gunshot wound to her torso while visiting Florida. (Compl. Ex. 5.) Following the Insured's death, Aleandre submitted a claim for the death ...


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