United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Anthony P. Patti, United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING CROSS-PLAINTIFF BARBARA
TEENOR’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT[#27]ANDDENYING
CROSS-DEFENDANT SUSAN LEBLANC'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge
Life Insurance Company (“MetLife”) initiated this
Interpleader action under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (“ERISA”), asking the Court to
determine the appropriate beneficiary to Decedent Clarence J.
Teenor’s life insurance policy. MetLife joins four
potential beneficiaries: (1) Susan LeBlanc, the domestic
partner of the Decedent; (2) Barbara Teenor, the ex-wife of
the Decedent; and (3) Theresa Teenor and Nicole Johnson, the
daughters of the Decedent.
before the Court are Susan LeBlanc and Barbara Teenor’s
Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. The Court will resolve
the Motions without hearing oral argument. See E.D.
Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court will GRANT Barbara Teenor’s Motion [#27] and DENY
Susan LeBlanc’s Motion [#23].
Decedent, Clarence Teenor, was a retiree of Fiat Chrysler
Automobiles. Dkt. No. 1, p. 3 (Pg. ID 3). Through his former
employer, Decedent obtained a life insurance policy funded by
January 5, 1970, the Decedent named Barbara Teenor, his
then-wife, as the sole primary beneficiary under his life
insurance plan. Id. at p. 4 (Pg. ID 4).
the two divorced, they agreed to a Statutory Life Insurance
Provision that read:
Defendant, CLARENCE J. TEENOR, shall maintain Plaintiff
[BARBARA TEENOR] as principal beneficiary on all life
insurance policies so long as spousal support is payable.
Dkt. No. 1-4, pp. 7-8 (Pg. ID 25-26). Under their agreement,
spousal support was payable until Barbara Teenor either
passed away or remarried. Id. at p. 3 (Pg. ID 21).
All of this was set forth in the Judgment of Divorce entered
by the Wayne County Circuit Court on March 16, 2006.
See Dkt. No. 1-4.
August 15, 2009, despite the provision in the Judgment of
Divorce, the Decedent named Susan LeBlanc, his then-domestic
partner, as primary beneficiary under his life insurance
plan. Dkt. No. 1, pp. 4-5 (Pg. ID 4-5). She remained the
listed beneficiary until April 21, 2017, when some unknown
individual removed her. Id. at p. 5 (Pg. ID 5).
Later that evening, the Decedent passed away, leaving behind
$49,172 in life insurance proceeds. Id.
7, 2017, Barbara Teenor submitted a claim to MetLife for the
Decedent’s life insurance proceeds pursuant to the
Judgment of Divorce. Id. Susan LeBlanc also
submitted a claim for the insurance proceeds, asserting the
April 21, 2017 attempt to remove her from the policy was
fraudulent. Id. at pp. 5-6 (Pg. ID 5-6). By letter
on June 12, 2017, MetLife informed both women that their
claims were adverse to one another and raised questions of
fact and law that MetLife could not resolve. Id. at
p. 6 (Pg. ID 6).
therefore comes to the Court seeking a determination of the
proper beneficiary to the Decedent’s life insurance
benefits. Susan LeBlanc and Barbara Teenor have filed