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Chacon v. Ohio State Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 18, 2014

ROMAN CHACON, an Arizona resident, Plaintiff,
v.
OHIO STATE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Texas corporation authorized to do and doing business within the State of Arizona, Defendant.

ORDER

H. RUSSEL HOLLAND, District Judge.

Motion for Summary Judgment

Defendant moves for summary judgment.[1] This motion is opposed.[2] Oral argument has been requested and has been heard.

Facts

Plaintiff is Roman Chacon. Plaintiff was born in New Mexico on November 5, 1993. He turned 18 years old on November 5, 2011.

Defendant is Ohio State Life Insurance Company. Defendant is a Texas corporation, which is authorized to do business in Arizona and New Mexico.

Plaintiff's father, Matthew Chacon ("Mr. Chacon"), a lifelong New Mexico resident, applied for a life insurance policy with defendant on January 3, 2001. The application for life insurance was taken at Mr. Chacon's home, which was located at 3018 Bright Star NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is also the address that Mr. Chacon listed as his home address on the application. The application listed a Dallas, Texas address for defendant.

Defendant issued a life insurance policy to Mr. Chacon on January 29, 2001, effective February 1, 2001. The policy was issued and delivered in New Mexico. The policy listed a Dallas address for defendant on the cover page and provided that premiums were to be paid to defendant's home office in Dallas, Texas.[3] The beneficiaries under the policy were Mr. Chacon's wife, Aurora Chacon; plaintiff; and the Estate of Matthew Chacon. The policy provided that it would become incontestable once in effect for two years.

Mr. Chacon died on February 28, 2002, in New Mexico, within the two-year contestability period. Probate occurred in the Albuquerque District Court, with Mrs. Chacon as the personal representative of Mr. Chacon's estate.

In April 2002, Mrs. Chacon submitted claim forms on behalf of all the beneficiaries of Mr. Chacon's life insurance policy. The claim forms were sent from New Mexico, where Mrs. Chacon lived, to Valerie Nelson, a claims examiner for defendant who was located in Kansas City, Missouri.[4] In July 2002, a New Mexico lawyer representing Mrs. Chacon sent additional paperwork to Ms. Nelson in Missouri.[5]

On November 27, 2002, Ms. Nelson informed Mrs. Chacon and her New Mexico attorney that defendant had to "consider th[e] policy null and void from its inception; and consequently, no proceeds are payable" because defendant had determined that Mr. Chacon failed to disclose information regarding "treatment for illegal drug use and abuse", which defendant considered "significant and material to the evaluation of" Mr. Chacon's insurability.[6]

On December 30, 2002, a second New Mexico attorney made inquiries on Mrs. Chacon's behalf regarding defendant's rescission of the policy.[7] These inquiries were directed to Ms. Nelson in Missouri.[8]

On February 5, 2004, an Arizona attorney, David Abney, advised Ms. Nelson that he would now be representing Mrs. Chacon "with regard to your denial of coverage letter dated November 27, 2002."[9] On March 3, 2004, Abney asked defendant to reconsider its decision.[10] The request for reconsideration was sent from Arizona to Ms. Nelson in Missouri.[11]

On March 18, 2004, Paul Garvin, in defendant's legal department in Missouri, responded to Mr. Abney's request for reconsideration.[12] On March 24, 2004, Abney ...


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