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MANHATTAN LIFE INS. CO. v. EVANEK

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


June 29, 1984

THE MANHATTAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLOTTE EVANEK and MARIAN EVANEK, Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIMMONS

I.

 This is an interpleader action filed by the Manhattan Life Insurance Company of New York to determine the rights to insurance proceeds under a policy of insurance in the amount of $50,000 issued by the Plaintiff Insurance Company to Raymond T. Evanek.

 There are two rival claimants for the proceeds of the policy herein involved. The first claimant is Defendant Charlotte Evanek, the designated beneficiary on the March 24, 1974 enrollment card, who was then the wife of Raymond Thomas Evanek, the insured, who is now deceased. However, the insured and Charlotte Evanek were divorced by decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County on October 31, 1977. The second claimant is Defendant Marian Evanek, the Administratrix C.T.A. of the Estate of Raymond T. Evanek, who married the insured Raymond T. Evanek on or about July 8, 1982. The insured died on June 8, 1983, still married to Marian Evanek. No change of beneficiary card was filed by the insured prior to his death.

 Both Defendants have moved for Summary Judgment on the grounds that there are no genuine issues of material fact, and each claims to be entitled to the proceeds of the policy of insurance as a matter of law.

 Defendant Charlotte Evanek contends that a divorced spouse may claim the proceeds of an insurance policy where that spouse is the designated beneficiary, even though the beneficiary is also designated as the "wife" but is not married to the insured at the time of the insured's death. Charlotte Evanek further contends that the property settlement agreement made in connection with the divorce does not cover these insurance proceeds.

 Marian Evanek, the surviving widow, contends that under the terms of the Separation and Property Settlement Agreement dated August 12, 1977, Charlotte Evanek released and acquitted the insured and his estate of all claims and rights under the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including the insurance proceeds involved here. Marian Evanek also contends that the designation of a beneficiary is a conveyance of property rights, which conveyance is ineffective after the divorce under 20 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 6111.1.

 II. Exhibit B to the Complaint designates the beneficiary as follows: Beneficiary Age Relationship Charlotte M. Evanek 49 Wife

19840629

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