United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
PRIMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, a foreign corporation Plaintiff,
ELIZABETH M. BRASWELL, KIMBERLY F. HAMILTON, CHERYL L. LARSON, LARRY A. MYERS, JR., DENNIS S. MYERS, JANINE A. MYERS and LARRY A. MYERS, JR. Defendants.
R. LAMMENS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
case, Plaintiff, Primerica Life Insurance Co.
(“Primerica”), has filed a complaint for
Interpleader against Defendants pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 22
and 28 U.S.C. § 1335. The underlying dispute arises from
competing claims presented to Primerica regarding a life
insurance policy for $50, 000 on the life of decedent Larry
A. Myers. The competing claimants include decedent's
widow, Janine A. Myers, and several adult children of
decedent. There are currently a number of motions pending in
the case, including Primerica's motion to dismiss
Defendant Janine Myers' counterclaim (Doc. 30), and
Janine Myers' motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc.
48). As those motions deal directly with the merits of this
case, they are taken under advisement and will be addressed
by the Court when ripe and in due course.
the Court will address several other pending matters in this
filed this action for Interpleader as a disinterested
stakeholder pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1335 as a result of
several competing claims presented to it by Defendants. The
pertinent background facts are as follows.
April 14, 2017, decedent Larry A. Myers died in Marion
County, Florida. (Doc. 1, ¶ 18). At the time of his
death, he held life insurance policy number xx-xxxx0108 with
Primerica in the amount of $50, 000.
alleged in the Complaint, decedent initially applied for the
policy in June, 1987 with Plaintiff's predecessor,
Massachusetts Indemnity and Life Insurance Company. At that
time, decedent requested coverage on his life in the amount
of $50, 000, a spouse rider covering his then wife Gloria in
the amount of $20, 000, and child riders in the amount of $5,
000 for children Kimberly Myers, Denise Myers, Cheryl
Basserman, and Elizabeth Basserman. (Doc. 1, ¶ 14). The
policy was issued on or about July 3, 1987. (Doc. 1, ¶
December 2001, decedent and his then wife Gloria Myers
divorced and entered into a Martial Settlement Agreement
(Doc. 1, p. 44). The terms of that agreement required each
spouse to maintain life insurance policies for the benefit of
the children, who were to be named as “irrevocable
beneficiaries” and the policies were to remain in
effect for the life of each party. (Doc. 1, p. 46-47). In
Paragraph 10, the agreement provided that “Husband
shall maintain the life insurance family policy with CNA
Insurance, policy number 3417067, insuring himself in the
amount of $50, 000 and insuring the Wife and children for $5,
000.” The children were to be named irrevocable
beneficiaries of the policies, which were to remain in effect
for the life of each party. (Doc. 1, p. 46-47).
married Janine Myers in 2008. On July 8, 2015, decedent
completed a Primerica Coverage Election Form and deleted the
spouse rider coverage from the policy. Decedent also changed
his beneficiary, designating Janine Myers, his wife, as the
primary beneficiary of the policy. (Doc. 1, ¶ 16).
died on April 17, 2017. His widow, Defendant Janine Myers has
presented a claim for the policy benefits to Plaintiff
Primerica on the basis of her designation as primary
beneficiary. Decedents' children, Elizabeth, Kimberly,
and Cheryl have also made a claim for the policy benefit
through their attorney. (Doc. 1, ¶ 20). The children
assert that pursuant to the terms of the Marital Settlement
Agreement, they are entitled to the policy benefit. (Doc. 1,
¶ 20). Meanwhile, Larry A. Myers, Jr. and Dennis Myers
claim that they are beneficiaries and entitled to the policy
benefit because they are the deceased's biological
children. (Doc. 29, p. 2). As to the discrepancy between the
policy identified in the Marital Settlement Agreement and
Final Judgment and the Primerica policy in place at
decedents' death, it is apparently the children's
position that the wrong insurance company name and policy
number was included through a clerical error. (Doc. 51-1).
recently decedent's former wife, Gloria Myers sought
relief in state court, seeking a determination that a
clerical error was included in the Final Judgment regarding
her and decedent's divorce. (Doc. 51-1). The state court,
however, declined to address that issue, citing the pendency
of this action in federal court and the fact that Primerica
was not a party to the state court action. The state court
action was stayed pending the outcome of this litigation.
the Court notes that soon after this action commenced,
Defendant Janine Myers filed a counterclaim for breach of
contract against Plaintiff Primerica, and cross-claims
against decedent's adult children for tortious
interference with a business contract. (Doc. 14).
Janine Myers also moved for sanctions against Plaintiff
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b). (Doc. 19). Recently, however,
Defendant Myers withdrew that motion seeking sanctions, but
not until Primerica had responded (Doc. 29), and after the
motion had been pending over two months. (Doc. 52). Currently
pending are Plaintiff's motion to dismiss Defendant
Myers' counterclaim (Doc. 58), Plaintiff's motion to
interplead the policy benefit into the Court's registry,
for dismissal, and for its attorney's fees (Doc. 36), and
Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc.
48), which is not yet ripe.
Plaintiff's Motion for ...