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Hooker v. Hooker

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

December 15, 2014

MICHAEL HOOKER, Plaintiff,
v.
MAL HOOKER, et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

TU M. PHAM, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court by order of reference is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendant Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company ("FDLIC") on July 21, 2014. (ECF No. 87.) Plaintiff Michael Hooker filed responses in opposition on August 14, September 4, and September 5, 2014. (ECF Nos. 92, 95, 96.) For the reasons below, it is recommended that FDLIC's motion be granted.

I. PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT

1. This action arises out of a preneed funeral insurance contract Michael Hooker ("Plaintiff") entered into with FDLIC. (ECF No. 88, FDLIC's Statement of Undisputed Facts ("FDLIC'S SOF") ¶ 1; ECF No. 92, Plaintiff's Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Pl.'s SOF") ¶ 1.).

2. The FDLIC policy was on the life of Plaintiff's mother, Ella Mae Hooker, who died on October 11, 2009. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 2; Pl.'s SOF ¶¶ 1, 2.)

3. The FDLIC contract designated E.H. Ford Mortuary as the funeral provider and had a total value of $38, 491.64. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 3; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 3.)

4. Plaintiff's brother, Defendant Mal Hooker, took charge of coordinating his mother's funeral and had her body transferred to Defendant Harrison's Funeral Home ("Harrison's). (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 4; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 4.)

5. Harrison's submitted a bill for funeral services in the amount of $12, 872.76 and requested payment out of the FDLIC policy. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 5; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6.)

6. A dispute arose between Plaintiff and Mal Hooker over which funeral home would conduct the funeral and be paid by the FDLIC contract. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 6; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 4.)[1]

7. Plaintiff objected to his mother's funeral service being performed at Harrison's. (Pl.'s SOF ¶ 10.)

8. As a result of the brothers' dispute, FDLIC suggested that the policy proceeds be interpleaded into the registry of the Court so that the proper recipient could be determined. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 7; ECF No. 87, Ex. A, FDLIC correspondence to Consumer Insurance Services Section, November 18, 2009.)

9. On December 1, 2009, Plaintiff wrote a letter to FDLIC expressing his objection to the preneed policy funds being subject to an interpleader action. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 8; ECF No. 87, Ex. B, December 1, 2009 correspondence.)

10. Subsequently, after the brothers took their dispute to the Tennessee Commissioner of Insurance, Plaintiff wrote another letter to FDLIC expressly authorizing FDLIC to make payment to Harrison's with the balance of the policy proceeds to be deposited in Plaintiff's account at SunTrust Bank. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 9; ECF No. 87, Ex. C, December 23, 2009 correspondence to FDLIC; ECF No. 87, Ex. D, December 23, 2009 correspondence to Defendant Adriana Harrison.)

11. FDLIC then issued payment to Harrison's in the amount of $12, 872.76. (FDLIC's SOF ¶ 10; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6; ECF No. 87, ...


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