Lincoln Benefit Life Co. v. Guerrero
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
No. 14-1077 JCH/WPL, 2016 WL 4547157 (2016)
Neftaly Guerrero and Bertha Guerrero (plaintiff) divorced in 2003. Prior to the divorce, Neftaly purchased a $125,000 life-insurance policy from Lincoln Benefit Life Company (Lincoln Benefit) (plaintiff) and designated Bertha as his primary beneficiary. Bertha also purchased an insurance policy from Lincoln Benefit during the marriage and designated Neftaly as her primary beneficiary. The couple’s divorce decree did not mention the life-insurance policies. Neftaly did not change his policy’s beneficiary designation after the divorce. In 2008, Neftaly and Bertha met with an insurance agent to sever the two insurance policies. Bertha filled out an application to split the policies, and Neftaly signed Bertha’s application, authorizing the insurance split. Other than authorizing the split, Neftaly did not make any changes to his insurance policy. The insurance agent informed Neftaly that he could change his beneficiary designation, but Neftaly declined to fill out a change-of-beneficiary form. Neftaly did not tell the insurance agent that he wanted to keep Bertha as beneficiary, nor did he tell the agent that he wanted to designate a new beneficiary. Bertha asserted that Neftaly told her in private that he wanted her to remain the primary beneficiary of the policy. After Neftaly’s death, Bertha filed a claim for the insurance benefits, and Imara Guerrero (defendant), as personal representative of Neftaly’s estate, opposed the claim. Imara argued that the proceeds should be paid to the estate because, pursuant to New Mexico law, the divorce had revoked Neftaly’s designation of Bertha as beneficiary and he had not named a new beneficiary.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Herrera, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.