Thursday, November 22, 2012

Court reviews competing claims to the proceeds of a life insurance policy.

STONEBRIDGE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, GWENDOLYN R. WILLIAMS v. ONZIE O. HORNE, III (Tenn. Ct. App. November 21, 2012)

This is an interpleader action resulting from competing claims to the proceeds of a life insurance policy. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Insured’s mother, finding that, because she was the only named beneficiary of the policy, she was entitled to the proceeds.

Insured’s husband appeals, arguing that, because Insured’s mother was only named as a contingent beneficiary, the default provisions of the policy remained in effect, resulting in him being the primary beneficiary of the policy. Husband also appeals the trial court’s dismissal of his bad faith claim against the insurer.

We affirm the dismissal of the bad faith claim, but conclude that the contract at issue is ambiguous and the issue in this case is not properly decided on summary judgment. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Opinion available at:
https://www.tba.org/sites/default/files/williamsg_11212012.pdf

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