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Primerica Life Insurance Co. v. Montoya

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 18, 2019

PRIMERICA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
CYNTHIA MONTOYA, BIANCA TRUJILLO, and HERITAGE MEMORIAL FUNDING, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JUDITH C. HERRERA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Cynthia Montoya's Motion for Summary Judgment, [ECF No. 48, filed August 6, 2018], and Defendant Bianca Trujillo's Response to Cynthia Montoya's Motion for Summary Judgment and Countermotion for Summary Judgment, [ECF No. 50, filed August 30, 2018].

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from a life insurance policy (“the Policy”) issued by Primerica Life Insurance Company on the life of Decedent Joseph Trujillo. The Policy designated Cynthia, Joseph's ex-wife, as the primary beneficiary and Bianca, his niece, as the contingent beneficiary.[1]After filing a complaint invoking interpleader and depositing with the Court the roughly $85, 000 Policy proceeds, the Court dismissed Primerica as a party from the case. Cynthia and Bianca are the only remaining parties, and the dispute between them centers on who is entitled to the Policy's proceeds.

         The parties presented the following undisputed material facts (“UMF”):

         1. On June 17, 1998, Primerica issued policy no. 0431737375 to Joseph.

         2. The Policy is a term life insurance policy.

         3. Joseph designated Cynthia, who later became his wife, as the primary beneficiary and Bianca, his niece, as the contingent beneficiary.

         4. On or about July 26, 2016, Joseph and Cynthia divorced.

         5. The Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage between Joseph and Cynthia does not specifically identify or address the Policy.

         6. Joseph died on March 2, 2017.

         7. At the time of Joseph's death, the Policy provided $80, 000 in life insurance coverage.

         8. During the marriage, the premiums were paid for by community funds. The parties dispute the following facts:

         1. Following the divorce, Cynthia paid the premiums for the Policy from her individual checking account.

         2. Joseph did not intend to revoke the beneficiary status of Cynthia.

         II. ...


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