MetLife sued over benefits for death of pitcher LidlePosted On: Apr. 1, 2007 12:00 AM CST
LOS ANGELESThe widow of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle has sued MetLife Inc. for more than $1 million for failing to pay benefits from an accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy.
Mr. Lidle and his flight instructor were killed when their plane crashed into a New York building last October.
Major League Baseball purchased a policy from New York-based MetLife in 2004 that provided life insurance and AD&D benefits for its players. Melanie Lidle was paid $450,000 in life insurance benefits from that policy, but the insurer has refused to pay $1.05 million in AD&D benefits, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles.
The plane Mr. Lidle and his instructor were flying has dual controls, meaning either individual may have been flying at the time of the crash. MetLife will likely argue that Mr. Lidle was piloting the plane, which would trigger an exclusion in the policy that invalidates coverage if the insured was acting as a pilot, crew member, flight student or in a capacity other than a passenger, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Lidle, though, contends her husband was simply a passenger on the plane. The complaint asks the court for a declaration that Ms. Lidle and the couple's son, Christopher, are entitled to the full proceeds of the policy and for damages of $1.05 million and the costs of the lawsuit.
A MetLife spokesman declined to comment.
Under MLB's benefits program, Ms. Lidle will receive a widow's benefit, consisting of 95% of a $175,000 pension benefit available to MLB players. Mr. Lidle was just shy of the 10 years required for full vesting under the pension plan. In addition, a $200 monthly dependent benefit will be paid to the family on behalf of Christopher until he reaches adulthood.