Court ruling backs MetLife

By Takesha Thomas | Mar 26, 2019

MIAMI -- MetLife has won a motion against a beneficiary after a dispute arose over where to deposit funds from one of the policies. 

On Feb. 25, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom granted Metropolitan Life Insurance's (MetLife) motion to deposit $23,164, plus any applicable interest, into a basic life insurance policy opened by Roy Prewitt who died in January. 

According to court filings, Prewitt, opened a basic life insurance policy in 2002 with his employer General Electric (GE) covered by MetLife. That policy, according to court records that were filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, named Gilda Rizzi as the primary beneficiary. 

However, in 2003, after marrying Nancy Prewitt, Roy Prewitt opened a secondary beneficiary designation naming Nancy Prewitt as the primary beneficiary for three GE benefit plans. He did not check the box for the basic life insurance plan, court documents say. 

MetLife wins part of motion in life insurance policy dispute   morguefile

In her ruling, Bloom found that MetLife "is permitted to deposit the funds into the court’s registry to avoid “fac[ing] competing claims for the judgment amount and … to protect itself from multiple liability.”

Following Roy Prewitt's death, Rizzi filed a claim for life insurance benefits, court records state.

MetLife also filed a motion for default judgment against Rizzi. 

According to MetLife, Rizzi failed to answer court requests to defend her "stake in the interpleader claim". Bloom therefore granted, in part, MetLife's motion for default judgment. "Based on the foregoing, the plaintiff is discharged from all further liability as to Rizzi for any and all claims for the basic life Insurance benefits resulting from decedent’s death," she ruled 

Bloom found that MetLife, "failed to provide any authority pursuant to which the court may discharge those nonparties from any further liability" with regard to the discharge of basic life insurance plan. She also denied a request to have Rizzi enjoined from seeking future complaints against MetLife, GE or regarding the basic life insurance policy in an effort to recover benefits. 

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