Accidental Death Policy

Lawyers handling accidental death life insurance policies would want to read all cases dealing with this subject.  Here is a 5th Circuit opinion styled, Abdul Salam Badmus v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company.

In August 2010, Mutual issued an Accidental Death Policy to Selem Babtunde Badmus (Selem), providing a $750,000 death benefit.  The policy provided no beneficiary but was changed to designate Selem’s brother, Abdul Salam Badmus (Badmus) as beneficiary in July 2013.  In March 2013, Badmus filed a claim seeking the policy benefits, alleging Selem died in an auto accident in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 24, 2014.  Mutual sent Badmus forms to complete and requested documents in support of the claim.  They received back partially completed forms and none of the requested documents.  Upon discovery of numerous discrepancies Mutual hired Worldwide Resources, Inc. (Worldwide) to investigate the claim.  Worldwide ultimately concluded that most of the information submitted was suspect and Mutual denied the claim.

In May 2015, Badmus filed suit for breach of contract and violations of numerous sections of the Texas Insurance Code.  Again choosing to undertake an independent investigation, Mutual uncovered a series of name-change forms indicating that “Selem Babatunde Badmus,” residing at Badmus’s address in Houston, Texas, applied for a name change to “Abdul Salam Badmus” on May 21, 2016, over two years after Selem’s alleged death in Nigeria.  shortly thereafter, Badmus was indicted for felony insurance fraud based on the insurance claim he filed with Mutual.

Based on this information, the district court concluded that the insured was alive and granted summary judgment for Mutual.

In contesting the summary judgment, Badmus argued that the trial court erred in concluding that evidence he had offered was inadmissible hearsay., irrelevant, and not in compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The only argument Badmus raised on appeal is that the newspaper and periodicals contained in his exhibits were self-authenticating and relevant.  Because Badmus did not address the court’s finding that the excluded exhibits were hearsay, that they were not timely produced, and that they did not comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, he has forfeited these arguments on appeal.

Other arguments in the case are interesting but because Badmus did not properly present the arguments, the motion for summary judgment was sustained.  The case is a good read for some of the evidence issues.

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