Man says MetLife, Petco breached insurance contract

By Kyla Asbury | May 19, 2015


MARTINSBURG – A Berkeley County man is suing Metropolitan Life Insurance and Petco Animal Supplies after he claims the companies breached their contract with his partner.


Brian Woodruff purchased life insurance worth $180,000 through his employer, Petco, and MetLife, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.


John Shepherd, the personal representative of Woodruff's estate, claims after Woodruff died, the defendants refused to pay on the policy.


Shepherd claims MetLife premised its coverage denial on the absence of an evidence of insurability form, despite the fact that there is internal disagreement at MetLife regarding whether an evidence of insurability form is required under the circumstances of Woodruff's purchase of the policy.


MetLife persists in its denial of coverage despite the fact that Petco believed and/or believes that no evidence of insurability form was required under the circumstances of Woodruff's purchase of the policy, according to the suit.


Shepherd claims while continuously accepting premiums from Woodruff, MetLife knew that Woodruff had not submitted the purported required evidence of insurability form, yet, it persisted in defrauding him by continuing to take premiums from him without ever intending to fulfill its contractual and fiduciary obligations to him.


Petco either failed to advise Woodruff that an evidence of insurability form was required under the circumstances of Woodruff's purchase of the policy, or alternative, Petco affirmatively advised Woodruff that an evidence of insurability form was not required under the circumstances of his purchase of the policy, according to the suit.


Shepherd claims the defendants breached their contract with Woodruff by denying to pay on the insurance policy.


Shepherd is seeking monetary relief in the amount of $180,000 with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Brenda Waugh of Brenda Waugh-Attorney at Law; and Ben Crawley-Woods.


The case is assigned to District Judge Gina Groh.


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 3:15-cv-00050

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