Woman sues AutoNation and MetLife, alleging ERISA violation

By Annie Hunt | Feb 7, 2016

FORT LAUDERDALE — A woman is suing an auto dealer and insurance company for life insurance benefits on behalf of a deceased former employee.

Rosemary Gambale filed a lawsuit on Jan. 14 in the Fort Lauderdale Division of the Southern District of Florida against Autonation Inc. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, citing violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Gambale is the designated beneficiary for Frank Fata, a former employee of Autonation.  Fata went on short-term disability and took a leave of absence due to colon cancer on Oct. 20, 2013. The plaintiff claims that the defendant erroneously recorded the leave of absence date as Nov. 18, 2013, and Fata’s disability benefits and employment were terminated on May 18, 2014.

Pursuant to Fata’s insurance plan, provided by MetLife, Fata had the option of to convert his employee-paid life insurance to a policy paid for by himself after his employment was terminated, but the plaintiff claims Fata never received a letter with conversion information. Fata died on June 23, 2014, and the plaintiff alleges she filed a claim for benefits after being informed that Fata did not have coverage. The claim was formally denied and upheld by the defendant. Gambale states that she is entitled to life insurance benefits in accordance with the ERISA.

Gambale seeks benefits in the amount of $121,000, pre-judgment interest, attorney fees, and costs. She is represented by John V. Tucker and Amy Ray of Tucker & Ludin in St. Petersburg.

Fort Lauderdale Division of the Southern District of Florida Case number 0:16-cv-60085-RNS

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