NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY v. BELL, as Trustee of the Phyllis S. Denson Irrevocable Trust Dated May 20, 2015 et al
ORDER granting 14 Motion ; granting 14 Motion for Permanent Injunction; granting 14 Motion for Attorney Fees; granting 14 Motion to Dismiss Party. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE CLAY D. LAND on 6/1/2017 (tlf).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
NEW YORK LIFE
RANDOLPH C. BELL, as Trustee of )
the Phyllis S. Denson Irrevocable Trust )
Dated May 20, 2015; and
JOY R. WEBSTER, as Chapter 7
CIVIL ACTION FILE NO.
Plaintiff New York Life Insurance Company filed this interpleader action pursuant
to Fed. R. Civ. P. 22 to determine the correct recipient of a death benefit in the amount of
$975,614.93, payable under Policy No. 45 207 811 (“the Policy”), a life insurance
contract insuring the life of Phyllis S. Denson (“the Insured”), now deceased.
As stated in the complaint, New York Life received competing claims from
defendant Randolph C. Bell, Trustee of the Phyllis S. Denson Irrevocable Trust Dated
May 20, 2015 (“the Trust”), the named beneficiary of the Policy at the time of the
Insured’s death, and from defendant Joy R. Webster, Chapter 7 Trustee in Adversary
Proceeding No. 16-4010 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of
Georgia, Columbus Division, arising from Case No. 16-40453 JTL.
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Pursuant to this Court’s order dated May 18, 2017 (Doc. 12), New York Life paid
into the Court registry the sum of $1,012,020.06, representing the death benefit of
$975,614.93, plus interest of $36,405.13 (“the interpleader fund”). The parties agree that
New York Life is a disinterested stakeholder of the interpleader fund.
New York Life Insurance Company has moved for the entry of an order
discharging from further liability under the Policy, for a permanent injunction, for an
award of attorney’s fees and expenses in a negotiated amount, and for dismissal as a party
to this action with prejudice. Good cause having been shown, and all parties having
consented, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
(a) New York Life is hereby discharged from any further liability under the
(b) Defendants are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from instituting or
prosecuting in any State or United States Court any other proceeding against New York
Life pertaining to the interpleader fund and/or the Policy;
(c) Upon receipt of an executed W-9 from New York Life, the Clerk of this Court
is authorized and directed to draw a check on the interpleader fund on deposit in the
registry of this Court in the amount of $7,500, principal only and not to include any
interest, as a negotiated award of attorney’s fees and costs, payable to “New York Life
Insurance Company,” to be mailed to its attorney, H. Sanders Carter, Jr., Smith Moore
Leatherwood LLP, Regions Plaza, 1180 West Peachtree Street, Suite 2300, Atlanta,
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(d) New York Life is hereby dismissed as a party to this action with prejudice;
(e) The balance of the interpleader fund shall remain in the Court registry until
further order of this Court.
SO ORDERED, this 1st day of June, 2017.
s/Clay D. Land
Clay D. Land, Chief Judge
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia
Order presented by:
Attorneys for Plaintiff
New York Life Insurance Company
s/ Jennifer Noland Rathman
H. Sanders Carter, Jr.
Georgia Bar No. 114100
Jennifer Noland Rathman
Georgia Bar No. 411044
SMITH MOORE LEATHERWOOD LLP
Regions Plaza, Suite 2300
1180 West Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
(404) 962-1000 (telephone)
(404) 962-1200 (facsimile)
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Consented to by:
s/ W. Donald Morgan, Jr.
W. Donald Morgan, Jr.
Georgia Bar No. 523150
Attorney for Defendant RANDOLPH C.
BELL, as Trustee of the Phyllis S. Denson
Irrevocable Trust Dated May 20, 2015
DON MORGAN, P.C.
Post Office Box 2056
18 Ninth Street, Suite 401
Columbus, Georgia 31902
(706) 221-5286 - Telephone
(706) 221-5066 – Facsimile
s/ Robert M. Matson
Robert M. Matson
Georgia Bar No. 477102
Attorney for Defendant
Joy R. Webster, as Chapter 7 Trustee
AKIN, WEBSTER & MATSON, P.C.
Post Office Box 1773
Macon, Georgia 31202
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