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Suicide's Impact on Supplemental and AD&D Benefits-N.D.Ga.

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  • Suicide's Impact on Supplemental and AD&D Benefits-N.D.Ga.

    In a rather open and shut case from the Norther District of Georgia, the court finds that the decedent's apparent suicide prevents the Plaintiff (decedent's beneficiary) from recovering for supplemental or AD&D benefits. The language the Defendant, and ultimately the court, leans on comes from the autopsy report which states "This 39-year-old black male, Dormekeal Kormel Lann, died as a result of a gunshot wound of the head. The range of fire was contact. Since the firearm was pressed against the subject's head at the time that it was discharged, this action is considered to be innately self destructive, therefore, the manner of death is certified as 'suicide.'"

    The court highlights this point by reasoning:
    Numerous courts have held that claim administrators can properly rely on an insured's death certificate and autopsy report in evaluating claims for death benefits. See McCorkle v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 757 F.3d 452, 455 (upholding benefits denial based on a death certificate identifying the cause of death as "suicide"); Hancock v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 590 F.3d 1141, 1156 (10th Cir. 2009) (upholding benefits denial based on a death certificate finding "undetermined causes" of death); Malin v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 845 F. Supp. 2d. 606, 614 (D. Del. 2012) (defendant was "permitted to consider the Assistant Medical Examiner's opinion of [the decedent's] manner of death, along with the rest of the administrative record"); The Wellinger Family Trust 1998 v. Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., 2013 WL5339160, *10 (D. Colo. September 24, 2013) (upholding benefits denial based on death certificate identifying "suicide" as the cause of death); McClurg v. Hartford Life and Accident Ins. Co., 2006 WL 2801878, *5 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 28, 2006) (upholding benefits denial based in part on the decedent's death certificate, an autopsy report, and a forensic toxicology laboratory report).
    The full opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files
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