Wife sues insurance company after husband's ATV death

By Cara Bailey | Feb 9, 2007

MORGANTOWN - The estate of Lewis County man has filed a suit against the man's life insurance company.

Renate Stapleton filed a suit Feb. 5 in Monongalia Circuit Court on behalf of her late husband Jeffrey S. Stapleton against CIGNA Life Insurance Company. Jeffrey Stapleton, an employee of Halliburton, died in an ATV accident.

The life insurance company had a life insurance/accidental death policy purchased by Stapleton. At the time of Stapleton's death, the policy had provided coverage that required CIGNA to pay at least $34,000 as long as the cause of death is not excluded in the policy.

CIGNA paid the $34,000 under the life insurance policy, but the suit says the company has refused to pay the $34,000 under the accidental death provision based on the fact that it states the accident is excluded under the terms of the policy.

"There is no exclusion listed in said policy which justifies the denial of accidental death benefits to the plaintiff," the suit says.

The family of Stapleton -- which includes his daughters Chelsea, Tawni and Cora Stapleton -- seek a declaratory judgment declaring the policies provide coverage for the claim, including all costs and expenses.

The Stapletons are being represented by J. Bryan Edwards.

Randolph Circuit Court case number 07-C-73

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