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Anderson v. American General Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 4, 2013

LORELAI ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN GENERAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant

For Lorelei Anderson, Plaintiff: Jacqueline A. Walker, J.A. Walker and Associates, P.C., Chicago, IL.

For American General Life Insurance Company, Defendant: Jason Michael Kuzniar, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lauren M Kim, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, Chicago, IL.

Page 786

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES F. HOLDERMAN, United States District Judge.

Defendant American General Life Insurance Company (" American General" ) in its Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 11) plaintiff Lorelai Anderson's (" Anderson" ) two-count complaint (Dkt. No. 1-1) presents two issues under Illinois law the court will address: (1) whether Anderson has standing to bring this suit; and (2) whether American General has immunity from this suit. As explained below, the appropriate answer under the law to the first issue is in

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the negative and to the second the affirmative.

Anderson was the beneficiary of a $100,000 life insurance policy, number 2633653 (" Policy" ) sold in 1998 by American General to and on the life of Claude Wright, Jr. (" Claude" ), who died October 23, 2011. On December 7, 2011, Anderson received the full Policy proceeds, but now seeks $150,000 more in damages based on what Anderson alleges were American General's violations of the Illinois Insurance Code, " Article XL Insurance Information and Privacy Protection" (" IIPP" ), 215 ILCS 5/1014, titled " Disclosure Limitations and Conditions," which restricts the disclosure by an insurance institution, such as American General, of " any personal or privilege information about an individual collected or received in connection with an insurance transaction . . . ." Id.

JURISDICTION

The case was timely removed by American General from the Circuit Court of Cook County, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446, based on the parties' diversity of citizenship. This court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, because the amount in controversy is greater than $75,000, and Anderson is an Illinois citizen, while American General is a citizen of Texas.

FACTS

The facts Anderson has alleged in her complaint (Dkt. No. 1-1) are accepted to be true by the court for purposes of this motion. Those facts as alleged in Anderson's complaint (Dkt. No. 1-1) are as follows:

On September 25, 1998, Claude purchased the Policy from American General. The Policy had a value upon his death of $100,000. Claude designated Anderson as the beneficiary. Claude made all the necessary payments to keep the Policy current to the date of his death, October 23, 2011. In the course of Claude's dealings with American General, Claude provided American General personal identification information.

On October 24, 2011, American General accepted multiple phone calls from Claude's son, Sugar Wright (hereinafter " Wright" ), who was not a party to the Policy, regarding the Policy. Among other private information, Wright requested the number of designated beneficiaries under the Policy, the individual names of the beneficiaries, and the Policy's face amount. Upon Wright's request, American General disclosed Anderson's name as the primary beneficiary designated under the Policy.

On October 25, 2011, Anderson informed American General by telephone that Claude had died on October 23, 2011. Also, on October 25, 2011, American General accepted a phone call from Wright requesting a duplicate copy of the Policy. That same day, Andersen informed American General that American General had released private policy information to unauthorized individuals.

On October 26, 2011, American General again accepted a phone call from Wright regarding the duplicate copy of the Policy that Wright requested on October 25, 2011, notwithstanding that Anderson had previously notified American General that she had not authorized information on the Policy to be given to a third party.

On November 14, 2011, American General accepted a phone call from Wright requesting contact information for the American General's Consumer Affairs Department and American General provided Wright this information. Also, on November 14, 2011, Anderson telephoned American General to inquire as to the status of her claim under the Policy. American

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General informed Anderson that she would receive the proceeds of the Policy no later than November 29, 2011.

On November 29, 2011, Anderson received a letter from American General stating that her claim for insurance proceeds had been transferred to American General's Legal Department, because the validity of her beneficiary status was being questioned. American General made the determination to delay payment of the Policy proceeds to Anderson based on allegations made by ...


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