United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
OPINION & ORDER
COKE MORGAN, JR., SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon two (2) motions by Plaintiff
The Prudential Insurance Company of America
("Plaintiff): Motion for Relief in Interpleader, Doc. 18
("Motion for Relief), and Motion for Default Judgment as
to Defendant Lien Ngo, Doc. 28 ("Motion for Default
Judgment"). For the reasons stated below, the Court
GRANTS the Motion for Relief, Doc. 18, and
ORDERS Plaintiff to pay the remaining death
benefits at issue to Defendant Chau Nguyen, plus applicable
claim interest. The Court AWARDS Plaintiff
half of its costs, as well as attorney's fees in the
amount of five hundred dollars ($500). The Court
DISMISSES the Motion for Default Judgment,
Doc. 28, as MOOT.
action involves a life insurance policy issued by Plaintiff
and covering Laura T. Ngo ("the Insured"). Doc. 1
¶ 7. The Insured designated Lien Ngo, Chau Nguyen, and
Doan Ngo as beneficiaries of the policy. Id. ¶
8. The policy includes death benefits in the amount of $1,
250, 000, broken down as follows: "Basic" death
benefits in the amount of $50, 000; "Optional"
death benefits in the amount of $1, 000, 000; and Accidental
Death and Dismemberment ("AD&D") benefits in
the amount of $200, 000. Id. ¶ 10. Lien Ngo was
the designated beneficiary of 40% of the policy's
proceeds, and Chau Nguyen and Doan Ngo were the designated
beneficiaries of 30% each of the policy's proceeds.
Id. ¶ 8. Doan Ngo predeceased the Insured,
forfeiting his share of the policy proceeds to the other two
beneficiaries. Id. ¶¶ 11-12.
Insured died on February 28, 2016, as the result of a hit and
run car accident. Id. ¶ 9. Lien Ngo and Chau
Nguyen each made a claim for their share of the policy
proceeds, and Plaintiff distributed all of the Basic and
Optional death benefits to them in April 2015. Id.
¶¶ 13-16. Plaintiff did not distribute the AD&D
benefits at that time, because the cause of death of the
Insured had not yet been established, and thus Plaintiff
could not yet determine whether the AD&D benefits were
payable. Id. ¶ 17.
about May 11, 2016, Plaintiff was informed by the Southampton
County Sheriffs Department that Chau Nguyen had not been
ruled out as a suspect in connection with the Insured's
death. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff is precluded by
Virginia law from distributing death benefits to any
individual convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of
the Insured. Id. ¶¶ 19-20; see Va. Code
about September 27, 2016, Plaintiff distributed Lien
Ngo's share of the AD&D benefits. Id. ¶
25. Not knowing whether Chau Nguyen might be tried and
ultimately convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of
the Insured, Plaintiff did not distribute to him the
remaining AD&D benefits, which amount to $90, 000. See id
November 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in
Interpleader, naming Lien Ngo and Chau Nguyen as Defendants.
Id. Plaintiff asserts that it "is ready,
willing and able to pay the [remaining proceeds] to whomever
this Court shall designate, " but states that it
"cannot determine factually or legally who is entitled
to" such proceeds. Id. ¶¶ 26-27.
Plaintiff was given leave to file an Amended Complaint by
Court Order entered February 13, 2017. Doc. 11. Plaintiff
filed its Amended Complaint on February 17, 2017. Doc. 12.
filed the instant Motion for Relief on September 12, 2017,
Doc. 18, requesting the following relief:
1. Allow Plaintiff to interplead the remaining death benefits
at issue, plus applicable claim interest;
2. Discharge Plaintiff of liability under the life insurance
policy and dismiss Plaintiff from this action, with
3. Permanently enjoin all Parties from bringing any other
actions in connection with the policy; and
4. Award Plaintiff attorneys' fees and costs.
at 1. In support of the Motion for Relief, Plaintiff
reiterated the facts stated in the Amended Complaint, and
further stated that on September 7, 2017 the Southampton
County Sheriffs Department informed Plaintiff that Chau
Nguyen had not yet been ruled out as a suspect in the death
of the Insured. Id. at 3. Because the investigation
into the Insured's death was still pending, Plaintiff