United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
KRISTEN JACQUES, KARA JACQUES, and THE ESTATE OF JOHN JACQUES, Plaintiffs,
SHERYL JACQUES, Defendant. SHERYL JACQUES, Counterclaim Plaintiff,
KRISTEN JACQUES, KARA JACQUES, and THE ESTATE OF JOHN JACQUES, Counterclaim Defendants.
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court pursuant to Sheryl Jacques'
Motion for Prejudgment Interest (Doc. # 86), which was filed
on December 21, 2016. As stated in the Motion, Kara Jacques
and Kristen Jacques join in the request for prejudgment
interest. At the direction of the Court, Prudential Insurance
Company of America filed a Response in Opposition on January
10, 2017. (Doc. # 92). For the reasons that follow, the Court
denies the Motion.
John Jacques passed away on October 12, 2015, he was covered
by two life insurance policies issued by Prudential. On April
25, 2016, John's ex-wife, Sheryl, filed an ERISA
complaint against Prudential in state court seeking payment
of life insurance benefits under one of the two insurance
policies - the Basic Term Life Policy. (Doc. # 2). On May 24,
2016, Prudential removed the action to this Court based on a
federal question - the ERISA life insurance policy - and, in
the alternative, diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. # 1).
demonstrated that interpleader relief was appropriate by
indicating it was a neutral stakeholder, ready, willing, and
able to disburse insurance proceeds, but not certain as to
the identity of the appropriate beneficiary or beneficiaries
and possibly subject to duplicate liability due to said
uncertainty. Prudential identified John's adult children,
Kristen and Kara, as putative insurance beneficiaries, and
after some investigation, verified that a second life
insurance policy, the Group Universal Life Policy (the GUL
Policy), also covered John. The parties represent that the
Basic Term Life Policy is an ERISA policy and that the GUL
Policy is a non-ERISA policy.
Court's direction, Prudential deposited the proceeds of
the Basic Term Life Policy ($85, 000) and the GUL Policy
($119, 041.35) into the Court's registry. (Doc. ## 75,
76). In an Order dated November 2, 2016, the Court granted a
broad release to Prudential:
[O]nce Prudential has deposited all funds in question into
the Court's Registry, it shall be dismissed from this
action with prejudice. Upon the deposit of the insurance
proceeds for both the Basic Term Life Policy and the GUL
Policy, Prudential and its present and former parents,
subsidiaries and affiliated corporations, predecessors,
successors and assigns and their respective officers,
directors, agents, employees, representatives, attorneys,
fiduciaries, and administrators shall be released and
discharged from any and all liability to Sheryl Jacques,
Kristen Jacques, Kara Jacques, and the Estate with respect to
the Basic Term Life Policy and the GUL Policy.
In addition, once the deposit of the funds has been made,
Sheryl Jacques, Kristen Jacques, Kara Jacques, the Estate,
and/or any past, present or future persons, representatives
or conservators on their behalf, are permanently enjoined
from bringing any action or proceeding in any forum, or
making any further actual or implied claims, demands, causes
of action asserted or unasserted, liquidated or unliquidated,
against Prudential arising out of or in connection with the
Basic Term Life Policy or the GUL Policy.
(Doc. # 74 at 18)(emphasis added).
December 19, 2016, the Court was notified that Sheryl, Kara,
and Kristen reached a settlement regarding the distribution
of all life insurance proceeds. (Doc. # 83). The Court
directed the parties to file a stipulation “includ[ing]
direction regarding disbursement of the funds held in the
Court's registry.” (Id.).
providing the Court with any information about the
parties' agreement as to distribution of the insurance
proceeds, Sheryl filed the instant Motion seeking prejudgment
interest from October 12, 2015, the date of John's death,
until November 10, 2016, the date that Prudential deposited
the funds in the Court's registry. (Doc. # 86). In total,
Sheryl seeks $10, 586.03 in prejudgment interest. Prudential
opposes the Motion. (Doc. # 92).
only “pays interest on life insurance death benefits
where the applicable contract provides for the payment of
interest and/or the applicable state statute requires that
claim interest be paid.” (Id. at 2). Sheryl,
Kristen, and Kara have not pointed to any language in either
of the two insurance policies which can be construed as
allowing for the payment of prejudgment interest. And,
Prudential affirmatively represents that “none of the
terms of either policy provide for the payment of interest on
the death benefits.” (Id. at 2-3).
in Flint v. ABB Inc., 337 F.3d 1326, 1329 (11th Cir.