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Insurance company files suit against Tonya Ford, others

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Suit filed in relation to Officer David Ford's life insurance

By Calen McKinney

A company has filed suit, asking a court to decide what should be done with an insurance policy belonging to the late David Ford.

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The company is now asking that Ford’s children be added to the lawsuit, after his wife, Tonya Ford, has been convicted of murdering him.

Louisville attorneys P. Douglas Barr and Brad S. Keeton filed a complaint on behalf of Connecticut-based UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co. on Sept. 14, 2011, in Taylor Circuit Court.

Named as defendants are Tonya Simpson Ford of Roland Street in Campbellsville, A.F., who is a minor child of Ford’s; Darrell Ford, who served as administrator of Officer Ford’s estate, and Lyon-DeWitt Funeral Home of East Main Street in Campbellsville.

According to the complaint, David Ford, who served as a police officer in Lebanon, had a $20,000 life insurance policy with UHIC. Tonya Ford was listed as the beneficiary.

After Officer Ford’s death, according to the complaint, she assigned $10,057.50 to go to Lyon-DeWitt as payment for funeral expenses.

In March 2009, shortly after Officer Ford’s death on Feb. 10, 2009, Ford submitted a request to receive her husband’s remaining insurance proceeds.

Shortly after the company began its investigation into that request, the complaint sates, it found Ford was considered a person of interest in her husband’s death.

Ford was later charged with committing the murder and a jury found her guilty of the crime in August. She was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison.

The complaint states that Kentucky law says anyone convicted of killing their spouse can’t receive that spouse’s insurance benefits.

UHIC has withheld payment of Officer Ford’s life insurance proceeds, according to the complaint, pending the resolution of the charges against Ford.

The company asked that a court order Officer Ford’s life insurance proceeds to be held with the Taylor County Master Commissioner until an order can direct who should receive the proceeds.

Local attorneys David Nunery and Casey Call filed a response and counterclaim to the complaint on Sept. 28, 2011, on Lyon-DeWitt Funeral Home’s behalf.

According to the counterclaim, funeral home staff ask that they be awarded its costs, which Ford implied with her signature would be paid for with proceeds from her husband’s life insurance policy.

On Dec. 27, Lyon-DeWitt amended its counterclaim to seek a personal judgment against Ford in the amount of $10,057.50, with interest.

Also on Dec. 27, UHIC filed a motion to add several defendants to the complaint, which include Ashley Simpson, now the guardian of A.F., and the Fords’ three adult children, David A. Ford, Bryan C. Ford and Adam J. Ford.

The motion also states that UHIC has found Officer Ford had an additional $20,000 in accidental death coverage insurance that needs to be discussed.

UHIC’s motion will be heard tomorrow in Taylor Circuit Court. A conference date to discuss the case has also been scheduled for Feb. 5.

Last Thursday, Nunery said the claim was initially filed so a court can decide who should receive Officer Ford’s life insurance. He said the issue also remains as to whether Officer Ford’s funeral will be paid for with his insurance proceeds.

Ford incurred the funeral costs, Nunery said, when she signed paperwork.

“So she ultimately owes it,” he said. “That’s where it stands now.”

Since Ford is serving a 20-year prison sentence, he said, collecting that debt could be an issue.

“I would say that it’s pretty much up in the air at this point,” he said.

Nunery said UHIC knows that it owes $20,000 to someone on Officer Ford’s behalf. He said the company isn’t arguing that the money shouldn’t be paid.

“They want the court to figure out who they owe it to,” he said.

Phone calls to Keeton and local attorney Bryan Bennett, who is representing Darrell Ford in the case, weren’t returned before press time.