CHARLESTON - A lawsuit concerning Stonebridge Life Insurance Company's alleged refusal to pay accidental death benefits removed to federal court and settled in 2012.

On April 5, 2011, a Notice of Filing of Notice of Removal was filed in Kanawha Circuit Court, stating that the case was being removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston.

On Jan. 25, 2012, a Final Dismissal Order was filed in federal court stating that Iesha Keel, who was a minor at the time the case was filed, "has now reached the age of majority since the filing of this lawsuit..." and together with Penelope Keel and the defendants, advised the court that all matters regarding the suit had been settled and compromised.

Both parties jointly moved to dismiss the action from the docket of the court, according to the dismissal order.

Penelope Keel had claimed she and Iesha Keel were covered under an accidental death and dismemberment policy of insurance issued to its insured, Larry Keel, by Stonebridge's predecessor-in-interest, J.C. Penney Life Insurance Company, according to a complaint filed Feb. 10, 2011, in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Penelope Keel claimed on June 25, 2009, Larry Keel died as a result of an accident that was covered by the policy and she made a proper claim for coverage.

Instead of honoring the policy and paying the claim, Stonebridge refused to pay the benefits and raised inapplicable exclusions, which breached the terms and provisions of the policy, according to the complaint.

Penelope Keel was represented by Richard A. Monahan of the Masters Law Firm. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company was represented by Robert P. Martin and Jordan K. Herrick of Bailey & Wyant PLLC.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-231

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston case number: 2:11-cv-00223

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