A trustee for HEATH LEDGER’s daughter MATILDA is suing the bosses of a U.S.
life insurance company for refusing to pay out on his $10 million (#5.4
million) policy – because they believe he may have committed suicide.
The Brokeback Mountain actor, 28, was found dead in his New York apartment in January (08).
The New York City Medical Examiner ruled he died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, but executives at ReliaStar Life Insurance Company are investigating the possibility Ledger took his own life.
The firm, which is owned by ING Americas, wrote the policy in June 2007, and the insurance money was due to be paid out to an unnamed trustee who would hold the money until two-year-old Matilda comes of age.
But they have so far failed to honor the document and have launched their own probe into Ledger’s death to establish if he committed suicide, therefore voiding the policy.
According to website TMZ.com, the trustee has now filed suit against ReliaStar Life Insurance, accusing them of acting in bad faith by not promptly paying up and by wrongfully prying into Ledger’s life months after his death.
The trustee’s attorneys further accuse ReliaStar of acting “maliciously, fraudulently and/or oppressively… depriving plaintiff of the insurance policy benefits.”
But lawyers for the company have hit back, defending their actions.
In response to the lawsuit, they say: “ReliaStar is entitled to investigate Plaintiff’s claim to determine if the ‘Suicide’ provision is applicable.” That provision states, “If the Insured commits suicide … we will pay only the amount of premiums paid to us.”
ReliaStar’s attorneys now intend to take depositions from the masseuse who found the actor dead, and Ledger’s pal Mary-Kate Olsen, who was the first person the beauty therapist called when she discovered Ledger’s body.
The insurance company is also claiming that Ledger lied on his policy application over whether he was taking any prescription drugs, which constitutes a “material misrepresentation”.