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Brighthouse Life Insurance Co. v. Grimm

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 21, 2018

BRIGHTHOUSE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
RUSSELL GRIMM, individually and as personal representative of the Estate of Judith G. Hill; V-DAY; NATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ASSOCIATION, INC.; and FIRST BOOK, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DEPOSIT FUNDS INTO THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT, FOR DISMISSAL, AND FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Interpleader Plaintiff Brighthouse Life Insurance Company (“Brighthouse”) has moved this Court for leave to deposit annuity assets into the Registry of the Court, for discharge and dismissal with prejudice, and for attorneys' fees and costs. (Doc. # 12.) Being fully informed, the Court orders as follows:

         I. FACTS

         1. This is a civil action in the nature of interpleader, seeking a determination by the Court of the proper beneficiary or beneficiaries of Annuity Contract No. 3203434335 (the “Annuity”), issued to Judith G. Hill (“Hill”) prior to her death. See (Doc. # 12-1). The contract is an inherited IRA.

         2. On or about April 7, 2010, Brighthouse issued the Annuity to Hill.

         3. In her application for the Annuity, Hill listed her brother, Defendant Russell Grimm, as the beneficiary.

         4. Hill died on or about May 13, 2016.

         5. Prior to Hill's passing, on or about January 31, 2016, she changed the beneficiaries of the Annuity, removing Grimm and including Defendant V-Day, Defendant National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Inc., Defendant First Book, and non-party NPR.

         6. In or around December 2016, Brighthouse paid NPR a death benefit of $18, 980.28 with respect to NPR's claim under the Annuity.

         7. Commencing in February 2017, Brighthouse received correspondence from Defendant Grimm's attorney, representing both Defendant Grimm individually and Hill's Estate, challenging the change of beneficiary and claiming that many of the actions Hill took prior to her death were invalid.

         8. On November 30, 2017, Defendant Grimm's attorney sent additional correspondence to Brighthouse, informing Brighthouse that the Denver Probate Court had ruled that changes Hill had made to her Last Will and Testament were invalid. The letter indicated that the changes to the beneficiary of the Annuity may well have been invalid as well.

         9. Meanwhile, the other interpleader Defendants have claimed or may claim they are entitled to their share of the remaining death benefit of the Annuity.

         10. Brighthouse is unable to determine who, under Colorado law, is the proper beneficiary of the Annuity.

         II. BRIGHTHOUSE IS ENTITLED TO ITS ...


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