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Prudential Insurance Co. of America v. G.E.C.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

June 19, 2018

THE PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
G. E. C., a minor; T.A.C, a minor; and A.M.C., a minor, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING A.M.C.'S AND T.A.C.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING G.E.C.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant G.E.C.'s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 35) and A.M.C.'s and T.A.C.'s cross-motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 49). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby denies the motions.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 29, 2016, Plaintiff the Prudential Insurance Company of America (“Prudential”) filed a complaint in interpleader against G.E.C. and Defendants T.A.C. and A.M.C. Dkt. 1. Prudential issued a life insurance policy to Charles Cruz, and, upon Mr. Cruz's death, a dispute exists as to the proper beneficiaries under the policy. Id.

         On January 3, 2017, the Court granted Prudential's motion to deposit the remaining proceeds into the Court registry and be dismissed from this matter. Dkt. 17.

         On December 13, 2017, G.E.C. filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 35. On March 26, 2018, T.A.C. and A.M.C. responded and, in the same document, requested affirmative relief in their favor. Dkt. 41. On March 30, 2018, G.E.C. replied and agreed to T.A.C. and A.M.C.'s suggestion that the remaining $200, 000 in proceeds would be distributable to T.A.C. and A.M.C. if the $200, 000 that was released to Mr. Cruz's mother, Pamela Cruz, was kept in constructive trust for the benefit of G.E.C. and his stepsiblings. Dkt. 45.

         On April 18, 2018, the Court entered an order noting that the cross-motion of T.A.C. and A.M.C. was not noted in accordance with the local rules. Dkt. 47. Accordingly, the Court requested that the parties meet and confer to establish a briefing schedule to afford G.E.C. adequate time to respond to the cross-motion. Id. The Court also requested that the parties confer over the apparent agreement in their briefing regarding the funds that were distributed to Pamela Cruz and how the disposition of those funds might resolve this matter. Id.

         On April 26, 2018, T.A.C. and A.M.C. filed their renewed cross-motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 49. On May 14, 2018, G.E.C. responded. Dkt. 50. On May 18, 2018, A.M.C. and T.A.C. replied. Dkt. 53.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In 1997, Mr. Cruz married Cassandra Cruz (now Cassandra Nagel). The couple had two children, T.A.C and A.M.C. In 2008, the couple legally separated and divorced. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Cruz and Silke Greer married. The couple had one child, G.E.C. Silke had two children from a previous marriage that Mr. Cruz treated as his own.

         Mr. Cruz was active duty military throughout his marriage to Cassandra and remained active duty until his death. As an active duty member of the armed services, Mr. Cruz was entitled to a $400, 000 Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (“SGLI”) policy issued by Prudential. Mr. Cruz and Cassandra's divorce decree included a provision about life insurance that required Mr. Cruz to maintain $200, 000 of his SGLI policy for the benefit of T.A.C. and A.M.C.

         On July 30, 2008, Mr. Cruz completed an election of benefits under the SGLI policy. Mr. Cruz elected to grant five percent of the benefits to Cassandra, twenty-five percent to T.A.C., twenty-five percent to A.M.C., ten percent each to his mother and father, and the remaining twenty-five percent to Silke.

         On September 14, 2015, Mr. Cruz completed another election of benefits form. Mr. Cruz elected to grant fifty percent of the benefits to his mother, Pamela Cruz, and fifty percent to “My child (ren) Cassandra Cruz mother of my two children as ...


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