Latimer LeVay Fyock, LLCLatimer LeVay Fyock, LLC

LLF's Alexander Passo Secures Favorable Settlement Against Two Life Insurers That Denied a Mother's Claims After Her Son Was Murdered In Cold Blood

No matter the cause, a child’s death is a parent’s worst nightmare. Losing a child to the scourge of gun violence can make the pain and heartbreak even more unbearable. For one Chicago mother and LLF client, the grief and loss she endured after the senseless murder of her son - a college student and a hall-of-fame high school athlete - was compounded by the callousness of two life insurance companies. Not only did the insurers wrongfully deny her claims as beneficiary under two policies covering her son, but the reasons they gave for doing so were both unsupported by evidence and premised on hurtful and untruthful allegations about her son’s conduct.

In a lawsuit brought on the mother’s behalf by LLF’s Alexander Passo, the firm was able to settle the case at an early stage, recovering approximately 80% of the claimed proceeds.

Our client’s son, a college student at the time, was purchasing a tiny amount of marijuana from a drug dealer. When he was attempting to leave, the dealer shot the son in the back, murdering him in cold blood. The son was unarmed at the time.

The victim’s mother later made a claim for accidental death benefit proceeds under two separate life insurance policies covering her son. Both insurers rejected her claim, asserting that it was barred by exclusions contained in the policies’ accidental death rider. While one of the insurers did not specify the exclusion upon which they were relying, the other stated that its denial was based on an exclusion for death caused by “[p]articipation in a felony, riot or insurrection or attempting to commit an assault, or an attempted commission of a felony.”

As noted, the son was purchasing a small amount of cannabis, far below any amount that would rise to the level of a felony. He was unarmed, and while there was an altercation, he nevertheless was shot in the back while attempting to leave.

The complaint filed by the firm alleged several causes of action based on the bad faith denial of the mother’s claims. After discovery, but while motions to dismiss were still pending, Passo secured a favorable settlement and obtained for the mother most of the proceeds to which she was entitled, along with some much-needed justice and closure.