Here is an interesting life insurance case that takes us down a different path as it relates to what happened. This is a Memorandum Order issued by a Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The case is styled, Delaware Life Insurance Company of New York v. Retirement Value, LLC.
This Order results from a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, 56, summary judgment motion in the context of a declaratory judgment action.
Here, Retirement Value moves for summary judgment on its counterclaim for declaratory relief. That is, Retirement Value seeks a judgment declaring each of the following facts necessary to require Delaware Life Insurance Company of New York (Delaware Life) to pay Retirement Value the stated death benefits on two policies issued by Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York insuring the life of Lilly Segal (the “Segal Policies”):
1. Lilly Segal, the named insured in the Segal Policies, is the same person as Sprinta Berger with the date of birth of March 26, 1926;
2. Lilly Segal is deceased, with a date of death of November 7, 2018, as set forth in the Death Certificate signed by Eli Inzlicht–Sprei, M.D.; and
3. Delaware Life is obligated to pay Retirement Value the stated death benefits of the Segal Policies.
However, the evidence on which Retirement Value relies is insufficient to satisfy the heavy “beyond peradventure” standard required to obtain summary judgment. In particular, and contrary to Retirement Value’s argument, Dr. Inzlicht–Sprei’s declaration does not “eliminate any question of fact that Sprinta Berger is the same person as Lilly Segal, who was born on March 26, 1926 and died on November 7, 2018 in Herman Segal’s home.” Dr. Inzlicht– Sprei’s declaration is conclusory and provides no facts to support his bare assertions that he knew Lilly Segal since 2009 (before her name change) and he identified the body found in Herman Segal’s home as Lilly Segal. The declaration also does nothing to explain the significant differences between pertinent personal identifying information found in the Segal Policies and the evidence proffered by Retirement Value. One exhibit shows (birthdate as March 26, 1926, birthplace as Hungary, and social security number as XXX–X4–5372) and the other shows (birthdate as January 14, 1924, birthplace as Czechoslovakia, and social security number as
XXX–X6–5373). Additionally, both parties failed to connect—without uncertainty—Lilly Segal and Sprinta Berger through their own investigation of the information provided on Sprinta Berger’s death certificate.
When the Court views the totality of the summary judgment evidence in the light most favorable to the non–movant Delaware Life, as it must, the evidence does not resolve all genuine issues of material fact over whether the insured Lilly Segal is in fact the deceased Sprinta Berger. Accordingly, Retirement Value is not entited to summary judgment, and Retirement Value, LLC’s motion is Denied.