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Green v. Life Ins. Co. of North America

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

June 11, 2014

LINDSEY GREEN; BRENDA GREEN, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA, Defendant-Appellee

Page 325

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 326

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

For Lindsey Green, Brenda Green, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Judy M. Guice, Esq., Judy M. Guice, P.A., Biloxi, MS; Sarah Courtney Reese, Biloxi, MS.

For Life Insurance Company of North America, Defendant - Appellee: Cameron S. Hill, Esq., Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C., Chattanooga, TN; Ceejaye S. Peters, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C., Jackson, MS.

Before STEWART, Chief Judge, and DeMOSS and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 327

CARL E. STEWART, Chief Judge:

Lindsey Green and Brenda Green (collectively " Plaintiffs" ) appeal the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Life Insurance of North America (" LINA" ) upholding LINA's denial of life insurance benefits to Plaintiffs, beneficiaries of the two policies at issue. Plaintiffs also appeal the modification of a discovery order. We AFFIRM both of these decisions.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Joshua Green (" Green" ), husband of Lindsey Green and son of Brenda Green, died while operating a boat on July 16, 2010. Around 8:20 p.m, he called his wife to say he was on his way home. When he did not arrive, she called the police. The Coast Guard found Green in his boat the next morning. He had died because of a head injury sustained when his boat struck the support legs of a landing light at Keesler Air Force Base.[1] The police report and radio log on the incident noted that Green had a blood alcohol content of .243, there were empty beer bottles and cans in the boat, he had not been using his running lights,[2] and when he had spoken to his wife he sounded intoxicated. Sunset on July 16, 2010 occurred at 7:59 p.m. and civil twilight, the point at which terrestrial objects become indistinguishable, was 8:26 p.m. The official death certificate declared the death to be accidental, occurring when Green struck a concrete piling. It listed the immediate causes of death as (1) contusions of the brain, (2) depressed skull fracture, and (3) violent impact to the top of the head. It listed as a significant other condition acute alcohol intoxication.

A. Green's Life Insurance Policies

Plaintiffs sought to recover on two Accidental Death and Dismemberment (" AD& D" ) policies Green held with Life Insurance Company of North America (" LINA" ) through his employer, Northrop Grumman Corporation. The policies are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq . (" ERISA" ). LINA is the issuer, insurer, claims ...


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