Who gets Ford insurance money?

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Payment from slain officer’s insurance held until decision reached

By Calen McKinney



His insurance company has paid the late David Ford’s insurance proceeds, but the question of what will happen to the money still remains.

A judge has dismissed the insurance company from a lawsuit it filed asking for a decision as to what should be done with a policy for the late David Ford. As a result, $40,000 waits with a court for a decision as to who gets the money.

The attorney for the funeral home who performed Ford’s funeral has asked that it be paid for those services out of the $40,000 policy.

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

Named as defendants are Tonya Simpson Ford of Roland Street in Campbellsville, Ashley Simpson, who is the guardian of A.F., a minor child of Ford’s; Darrell Ford, who served as administrator of Ford’s estate; David A. Ford, Bryan C. Ford, Adam J. Ford 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. An additional $20,000 in accidental death coverage brings Officer Ford’s policy to $40,000.

After Officer Ford’s death, according to the complaint, Tonya Ford 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 states, 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. An appeal of that sentence is pending.

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 their 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 filed intention to seek a personal judgment against Ford in the amount of $10,057.50, with interest.

Several other counterclaims have been filed in the case since then.

On April 10, UHIC filed a motion asking that it be dismissed from the case and it be awarded attorney’s fees and court costs from the $40,000 and a decision be made as to who should receive the remaining costs. Attorney’s fees, according to the motion, totaled $15,000.

On May 14, Taylor Circuit Court Judge Allan Bertram dismissed UHIC from the suit, but denied its request for attorney’s fees.

According to Bertram’s order, the $40,000 will be placed in an account and the defendants aren’t allowed to file any other claims against UHIC. On Tuesday, Nunery said the dismissal ends UHIC’s portion of the lawsuit, but the case will remain open until a court decides what will happen to the $40,000.

He said earlier this year that the issue remains who will pay Officer Ford’s funeral costs and, if paid from the $40,000, who will receive the remaining money.

Nunery said Ford incurred funeral costs when she signed paperwork.

On Tuesday, Nunery said he is preparing a motion to ask that the funeral home be paid for its services and the rest of the $40,000 be distributed.

“So, it’s just a matter of deciding who gets the money,” he said.

Nunery said he intends to file the motion, which will ask for a summary judgment to be entered in the case, soon. On Wednesday morning, it had not yet been filed.

The case is scheduled to be discussed in Taylor Circuit Court on Tuesday, June 4, at 9 a.m. A case management conference has been set for Sept. 17. Phone calls to Keeton and local attorney Bryan Bennett, who is representing the Fords in the case, weren’t returned before press time. Jon Hieneman, who was appointed to represent Tonya Ford’s interest in the case, didn’t return a phone call before press time.