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JACKSON NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY v. LANGILL

United States District Court, S.D. California


September 16, 2005.

JACKSON NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Michigan Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
ASHLEY B. LANGILL, a minor, DAVID A. LANGILL, a minor, APRIL F. LANGILL, and NANCY M. NICOLAS, as Trustee of the David W. Langill Trust Dated April 22, 2002, Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LOUISA PORTER, Magistrate Judge

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR DISCHARGE OF PLAINTIFF JACKSON NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY; FOR DEPOSITING OF INTERPLEAD FUNDS WITH COURT IN INTEREST BEARING ACCOUNT; AND FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FEES AND COSTS
Plaintiff JACKSON NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY ("Jackson National"), by and through its counsel of record, Meserve, Mumper & Hughes LLP, defendant APRIL F. LANGILL ("April"), by and through her counsel of record, Moore, Lewis, Schulman & Moore A.P.C., ASHLEY B. LANGILL ("Ashley"), a minor, by and through her counsel of record Charlene S. Baron, Esq., DAVID A. LANGILL ("David"), a minor, by and through his counsel of record Charlene S. Baron, Esq. and defendant NANCY NICOLOS as Trustee of the David W. Langill Trust Dated April 22, 2002 ("Nicolos"), by and through her counsel of record Jack Fitzmaurice, Esq., apply to this Court for an Order for Discharge of plaintiff Jackson National. The operative facts are as follows:

  1. In dispute are the proceeds payable under a Life Insurance Policy, issued by Jackson National, providing coverage for David W. Langill (the "insured"), policy number 0015567800 (the "Policy"). The benefits payable under the Policy upon the death of the insured are One Hundred Sixty Thousand Dollars ($160,000.00).

  2. The insured died on September 15, 2003. The Application for the Policy, dated March 20, 1990, names April as the sole beneficiary thereunder. Subsequent to the insured's death, Jackson National became aware of potential conflicting and adverse claims to the proceeds payable under the Policy as follows:

  (a) On March 21, 1997, the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, entered a Judgment of Dissolution with respect to the marriage of the insured and April. By the terms of that judgment, the court specifically ordered that "[e]ach party will maintain the presently existing life insurance policies, insuring that party's life and paying the premiums thereon." The court further ordered that "[u]ntil the youngest child turns eighteen years of age, the children shall be named as joint beneficiaries."

  (b) The Langill Irrevocable Trust, dated April 22, 2002 designated the insured's children, David and Ashley, as the beneficiaries of any life insurance proceeds in equal shares. However, the designation of April as sole beneficiary under the Policy was never changed by the insured.

  (c) The insured's attorney, Myles Tyler, informed Jackson National of the insured's death on or about September 18, 2003. On or about October 20, 2003, April submitted a Life Insurance Claimant's Statement, through which she claimed to be the sole beneficiary under the Policy and requested payment.

  (d) On or about June 20, 2004 Nicolos, Trustee of the Langill Irrevocable Trust, wrote counsel, for Jackson National advising that it was her "belief" that the insured wanted April as sole beneficiary under the Policy. (e) On June 28, 2004 counsel for Nicolos wrote counsel for Jackson National confirming in writing the position of Nicolos that the insured's estate had no claim upon the life insurance proceeds under the Policy.

  3. Jackson National admits that there are benefits payable under the Policy in the amount of $160,000.00, plus interest accruing from the date of the insured's death. Jackson National claims no beneficial interest to the proceeds due under the Policy, but was, at all relevant times, a mere stakeholder as to the proceeds, and has at all times been, ready, willing and able to pay the proceeds to the person or persons legally entitled thereto pursuant to this Court's order.

  4. As a result of the conflicting claims of April, Ashley, David and Nicolos, (collectively referred to as "Defendants"), as set forth above, on March 1, 2005, Jackson National filed a Complaint in Interpleader in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. By the present application, Jackson National seeks to deposit with the Clerk of this Court the benefits payable under the Policy in the amount of $160,000.00, plus interest accruing from the date of the insured's death, less attorneys' fees and costs incurred by Jackson National in the amount of $14,978.00.

  5. Jackson National brought this Complaint in Interpleader in good faith and without collusion with any of the Defendants.

  6. The Defendants, and each of them, agree and do hereby release Jackson National from all claims of any nature whatsoever, known or unknown, fixed or contingent, whether at law or at equity, from the beginning of time to the date hereof, against Jackson National, and its agents, general agents, representatives and employees; and Defendants, and each of them, hereby specifically waive the benefits of California Civil Code section 1542 which provides as follows: A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.

  Defendants, and each of them, further waive the benefit of any other statute, rule or provision of law in effect in any other jurisdiction that is similar to that of California Civil Code section 1542.

  WHEREFORE, the parties apply for an Order of this Court, allowing Jackson National to deposit with this Court the total proceeds payable under the Policy, policy number 0015567800, in the amount of $160,000.00, plus interest accruing from the date of the insured's death, less attorneys' fees and costs incurred by Jackson National in the amount of $14,978.00.

  The parties also apply for an Order discharging Jackson National, and its agents, general agents, representatives and employees from any and all further liability to each Defendant and any other persons or entities whether claiming by, through, or under any Defendant, for the proceeds of, on account of or by reason of the coverage provided to the insured under the Policy.

  The parties also apply for an Order that provides each and all of the Defendants shall be, and hereby are, permanently enjoined and restrained from instituting, prosecuting or taking any further steps or proceedings against Jackson National, and its agents, general agents, representatives and employees in any action or actions, or in any way involving Jackson National, or its agents, general agents, representatives and employees in any action, suit or proceeding, with respect to the Policy.

  The parties also apply for an Order that provides Jackson National shall be reimbursed in the amount of $14,978.00 incurred in attorneys' fees and incidental court costs for its pursuit of this action. Accordingly, the proceeds from the Policy to be deposited with the Clerk of this Court by Jackson National in this action shall constitute the source of funds for that reimbursement to Jackson National's retained counsel, Meserve, Mumper & Hughes LLP, and said funds shall be deducted from the total proceeds prior to deposit.

  It is further agreed that this Application may be executed in counterparts by each of the parties hereto. ORDER

  Based upon the foregoing Application of the parties, and good cause appearing:

  IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Complaint in Interpleader was properly brought by Jackson National Life Insurance Company ("Jackson National") and that the sum requested by Jackson National to be deposited with the Clerk of this Court represents the benefits and interest payable under life insurance Policy No. 0015567800 (the "Policy") as a result of the death of David W. Langill (the "insured"), less attorney's fees and costs incurred by Jackson National.

  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Jackson National shall deposit with this Court the total proceeds payable under the Policy issued by Jackson National to the insured, policy number 0015567800, in the amount of $160,000.00, plus interest accruing from the date of the insured's death, less attorney's fees and costs incurred by Jackson National in the amount of $14,978.00.

  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Jackson National, and its agents, general agents, representatives, and employees are released and forever discharged by defendants April Langill ("April"), David A. Langill ("David"), Ashley B. Langill ("Ashley"), and Nancy Nicolos, as Trustee of the David W. Langill Trust Dated April 22, 2002 ("Nicolos") (collectively referred to as "Defendants"), and each of them, from any and all liability and claims of any nature whatsoever, known or unknown, fixed or contingent, whether at law or at equity, from the beginning of time to the date hereof, and more particularly, but without in any way limiting the generality of the foregoing, of and from any and all further liability to each defendant and any other persons or entities whether claiming by, through or under any defendant, for the proceeds of, or on account of or by reason of the coverage provided to the insured under the Policy.

  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Jackson National be and hereby is discharged and dismissed with prejudice from this action, and that the action shall proceed between Defendants as to their respective entitlements to the proceeds on deposit with the Court.

  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants, and each of them, by this Order are permanently enjoined and restrained from instituting, prosecuting, and/or taking any further steps or proceedings against Jackson National, and/or its agents, general agents, representatives or employees in any action or actions, or in any way involving Jackson National, and/or its agents, general agents, representatives or employees in any action, suit or proceeding, with respect to the Policy and/or the insurance coverage provided under the Policy.

  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Jackson National shall be reimbursed in the amount of $14,978.00 incurred in attorneys' fees and incidental court costs for its pursuit of this action, which fees and costs shall be deducted from the total proceeds payable under the Policy prior to the deposit of said proceeds with the Court.

20050916

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