United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
Annemarie Hogan, Plaintiff: Joseph F. Hook, LEAD ATTORNEY,
Joseph F. Hook, Attorney at Law, Middletown, RI.
Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Defendant, Counter
Claimant: Christian B. W. Stephens, Eckert Seamans Cherin &
Mellott, LLC, Boston, MA.
of William Hogan, By its duty appointed representative,
Annie-Laurie Hogan, Counter Defendant, Pro se, Middletown,
E. Smith, Chief United States District Judge.
before the Court is Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff
Jackson National Life Insurance Company's ("
Jackson" ) Motion for Discharge from Liability and for
Additional Interpleader Relief. (ECF No. 22.) Jackson moves
the Court to dismiss it from this action with prejudice,
discharge it from liability pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2361, and grant it reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
(Id.) Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant Annemarie
Hogan (" Ms. Hogan" ) assents to Jackson's
dismissal and discharge requests, but objects to its motion
for fees and costs. (ECF No. 23.) For the reasons stated
below, the Court GRANTS Jackson's Motion to be dismissed
from this case and discharged from liability, but DENIES
Jackson's request for attorney's fees and costs.
year 2000, William Hogan (" Mr. Hogan" ) purchased
a life insurance policy (the " Policy" ) from
Jackson with a benefit of $200,000. (Am. Compl. ¶ 3, ECF
No. 1-2.) The Policy named Mr. Hogan's then spouse, Ms.
Hogan, as the primary beneficiary. (Jackson Memorandum of Law
in Support of Motion (" Jackson Mem." ) 2, ECF No.
22-1.) At some point after purchasing the life insurance
policy, Mr. and Ms. Hogan divorced. (Id.) Mr. Hogan
relocated to New York, while Ms. Hogan continued to reside in
Rhode Island. (Id. at 2; Am. Compl. ¶ 8, ECF
No. 1-2.) Ms. Hogan, nevertheless, remained the primary
beneficiary on the Policy for all times relevant to this
action. (Jackson Mem. at 2.)
December 23, 2013, Mr. Hogan died. (Id.) When Ms.
Hogan attempted to collect the Policy proceeds, Jackson
denied her claim, stating in an email from Jackson's
Associate General Counsel:
Mr. Hogan died a resident of the state of New York. New York
Statute 5-1.4 provides that a divorce revokes a beneficiary
designation made to a former spouse.
It is our position that the statute disqualifies Ms. Hogan
from receiving the policy's death benefit proceeds.
We will make payment accordingly unless you present us with a
court order to the contrary within 30 days of today's
(Hogan Obj. Ex 2, ECF No. 23-2.) When Ms. Hogan did not
present a court order within 30 days, Jackson notified her
that it was going to proceed as outlined in the email, i.e.,
it determined that Ms. Hogan was disqualified from receiving
the proceeds of the Policy. (Id.)
receiving Jackson's second denial letter, Ms. Hogan
commenced a declaratory action in Rhode Island Superior
Court, seeking, inter alia, a ...