MetLife suspects widow of murder, seeks representation for surviving children

By Carol Ostrow | Jun 18, 2015

An insurance firm filed a petition against a Houston woman alleging possible conflict of interest in her husband’s violent death in 2013.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) filed a complaint against Valerie Cavazos, individually and as next friend of minors P.A.G., R.A.G. and L.H.G., in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on June 11, seeking injunctive action in a benefit issue related to Cavazo's husband’s passing.

The suit states that Cavazos is the surviving spouse of Hipolito Ruiz Gomez, who had group life and accidental death insurance under his employer’s benefit plan. MetLife states that as claim fiduciary, it must administer claims in accordance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

According to the suit, Cavazos is named as the only beneficiary. When the decedent died on Aug. 19, 2013, of multiple sharp force injuries, his death was ruled a homicide, the suit states. MetLife was notified by the Houston Police Department on Nov. 25, 2013, that Cavazos was a suspect in the murder. The plaintiff alleges therefore that Cavazos is disqualified as a beneficiary if determined responsible for her husband’s death.

MetLife requests the court to determine alternate beneficiaries to the plan benefits, averring that it is acting solely as a stakeholder and seeks no compensation beyond costs. MetLife requests appointment of a guardian ad litem for the minor children in the matter.

The plaintiff requests injunctive action against the defendants to prevent litigation, attorney’s fees and costs. MetLife is represented by Linda Moore of Estes Okon Thorne & Carr in Dallas.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case 4:15-cv-01662

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