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LINCOLN NATL. LIFE INS. CO. v. BLIGHT

September 18, 1975

The LINCOLN NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
v.
Evelyn BLIGHT et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CAHN

 CAHN, District Judge.

 This is an action in interpleader brought by plaintiff, The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (Lincoln), against competing claimants to the proceeds of a life insurance policy on the life of John H. Blight, who died on or about December 22, 1972. The claimants are the designated primary beneficiary, the contingent beneficiaries and the administratrix, c.t.a., of the decedent's estate. Lincoln interpleaded all of the claimants under 28 U.S.C. § 1335, the federal interpleader statute, which confers jurisdiction on this court in that the proceeds of the policy exceed $500 and there is minimal diversity of citizenship between at least two of the claimants. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523, 87 S. Ct. 1199, 18 L. Ed. 2d 270 (1967).

 The proceeds of the policy are in the amount of $3,522.29 which was deposited in the registry of the court on July 10, 1975, pursuant to the aforesaid interpleader statute. By agreement of counsel for all of the claimants, summary judgment was entered in favor of Lincoln terminating its liability under the policy, setting a reasonable attorney's fee for its counsel in the amount of $400 and ordering reimbursement for its record costs in the amount of $38.56, which sums are to be disbursed from the amount previously paid into court.

 Following an evidentiary hearing and oral argument I make the following findings of fact:

 1. Lincoln issued a life insurance policy, No. 64-787609, to John H. Blight on August 15, 1946, in the face amount of $3,000.

 2. On April 2, 1964, said policy was endorsed to name decedent's wife, Evelyn Blight, as the primary beneficiary if she survived the insured, and if not, the contingent beneficiaries were named as Santo A. DiDonato, stepson of the insured, Diane Blight and Brenda Blight, daughters of the insured.

 3. On or about March 2, 1971, Evelyn Blight and John H. Blight entered into a Postnuptial Agreement which provided in paragraph 2(e):

 
"Each of the parties hereto shall be entitled to take over, assume, and retain title to any and all life insurance on her or his respective life, and shall execute in favor of each other all required assignments of interest, waivers, releases, and other documents that may be required to sever and abrogate the other's interest in all such life insurance policies;"

 4. Evelyn Blight and John H. Blight were divorced in December of 1971, in Pennsylvania.

 5. John H. Blight died on or about December 22, 1972.

 6. Prior to his death, John H. Blight did not change the beneficiary designations which had been endorsed on policy No. 64-787609 on April 2, 1964.

 7. Evelyn Blight and John H. Blight accompanied each other to social events following the entry of the divorce decree.

 8. John H. Blight's mother died October 14, 1972, who was the named beneficiary on another life insurance policy, and after her death he designated the new beneficiaries to be Diane ...


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