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Minnesota Life Insurance Co. v. Gomez

United States District Court, D. Arizona

August 3, 2015

Minnesota Life Insurance Company, Plaintiff,
v.
Norma A. Gomez, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Minnesota Life Insurance Company has filed a Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant Lizeth Gomez pursuant to Rule 55(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 15.) Ms. Gomez has not responded and the time to do so has long since expired. See LRCiv 7.2(c) (providing that a response must be filed within 14 days after service of the motion). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Plaintiff's request for default judgment.[1]

I. Background

On April 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed this interpleader Complaint against Defendants Norma A. Gomez, Lizeth Gomez, and minors M.G. and C.G., arising from potential claims to benefits under a basic life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policy issued by Plaintiff to Saul E. Gomez's former employer. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff alleges the following facts in its Complaint:

FACTS
8. [Plaintiff] issued the Policy to FedEx that provided basic life insurance and AD&D benefits to covered FedEx employees. The Policy is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. ยง 1001, et seq.
9. Mr. Gomez was a FedEx employee who was covered under the Policy. Mr. Gomez had $47, 000 in basic life insurance coverage and $47, 000 in AD&D coverage under the Policy.
10. Mr. Gomez did not name a beneficiary under the Policy.
11. The Policy provided that if the insured does not name a beneficiary, benefits will be paid to surviving relatives in the following order: (1) the insured's lawful spouse; (2) the insured's natural or legally adopted children, in equal shares; (3) the insured's parents, in equal shares; or (4) the personal representative of the insured's estate.
12. On July 3, 2007, Mr. Gomez was found dead in the Gila River. He had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Maricopa County Sherriff's Office investigated Mr. Gomez's death and ruled it a homicide.
13. Mr. Gomez's death caused life insurance and AD&D benefits to be due and payable under the Policy.
14. Norma Gomez submitted a claim for the life insurance and AD&D benefits on September 26, 2008.
15. [Plaintiff] stands ready to pay the $47, 000 life insurance benefit and $47, 000 AD&D benefit, plus accrued interest at a rate of 4%.
16. The investigation into Mr. Gomez's death is ongoing. Norma Gomez is considered a suspect in Mr. Gomez's death, but has not yet been charged with ...

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