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Woodruff v. National Life Insurance Co.

April 10, 2008

ALAN P. WOODRUFF, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, A VERMONT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leon Jordan United States District Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The court tried this civil action without a jury on October 30, 2006. Prior to trial, the plaintiff, Alan Woodruff ("Woodruff"), filed proposed and amended proposed findings of fact and conclusion of law [docs. 40, 41], and defendant, National life Insurance Company ("National Life"), also filed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law [doc. 43]. After trial, plaintiff filed a second amended proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law [doc. 47], a post trial memorandum [doc. 48], and was given permission to file a supplemental post trial memorandum [doc. 50]. Having heard the testimony at trial and having reviewed the exhibits introduced into evidence at trial, the following are the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a).

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On July 1, 1988, National Life issued a life insurance policy, No. 2090868, to John M. Ward ("Ward"). The annual premium was $9,499.98, and the amount of the policy was $403,321. P.Ex. 4-A.*fn1

2. On February 8, 1989, National Life issued a life insurance policy, No. VL0029793, to Daniel M. Edgar ("Edgar"). The annual premium was $5,000, and the amount of the policy was $257,946. P.Ex. 4-B.

3. On February 10, 1989, National Life issued a life insurance policy, No. 2102499, to Edgar. The annual premium was $11,855.47, and the amount issued was $770,891. P.Ex. 4-C.

4. Each of the policies provided for the accrual of cash value as the annual premiums were paid. All of the policies also provide for the net cash value to be paid to the owner of the policy should the policy be surrendered prior to the owner's death. P.Exs. 4-A, B, C.

5. Policies No. 2090868 and No. 210499 define net cash value as: The Net Cash Value is: 1. the Cash Value; plus 2. any remaining dividends held; plus 3. the value of any dividend additions in force; less 4. any debt to us on this policy.

Policy No. VL0029793 contains a definition of net cash value that is substantially similar. P.Exs. 4-A, B, C.

6. On September 5, 1989, Edgar entered into two split dollar agreements with his employer at that time, Cape Coral Medical Center of Cape Coral, Florida ("Cape Coral"). Pursuant to the agreements, Cape Coral agreed to pay the premiums on Edgar's two life insurance policies in exchange for Edgar assigning the policies to Cape Coral. Each of the split dollar agreements referenced that the employee, Edgar, would execute "a collateral assignment of the policy to the Company [Cape Coral] on the collateral assignment form attached to this agreement." P.Exs. 1-B, C.

7. On September 5, 1989, Edgar executed both collateral assignment forms regarding his life insurance policies. P.Exs. 2-B, C. The assignment for policy No. 0029793, P.Ex. 2-B shows it was recorded by National Life on August 7, 1990. The assignment for policy No. 2102499 bears no recording stamp, but presumably it was recorded at the same time.

8. On April 20, 1993,*fn2 Ward entered into a split dollar agreement with his employer at the time, Cape Coral. Pursuant to the agreement, Cape Coral agreed to pay the premium on Ward's life insurance policy in exchange for Ward assigning the policy to Cape Coral. The split dollar agreement referenced that Ward would execute "a collateral assignment of the policy to the Company on the collateral assignment form attached to this agreement."

P.Ex. 1-A.

9. On April 20, 1993, Ward executed the collateral assignment form regarding his life insurance policy. P.Ex. 2-A. The document shows that it was ...


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