Life Denied, Justice Served: Oregon Supreme Court Sides With Beneficiary in Life Insurance Dispute

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Insurance Denial Causing Emotional Distress? You Might Have a Case (Oregon)

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Reporting by Adam Lopez, Legal Analyst

(OREGON) – In a decision that could have significant implications for policyholders nationwide, the Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a beneficiary who sued her husband’s life insurance company for emotional distress and negligence related to the denial of benefits. The case, Moody v. Or. Cmty. Credit Union, 371 Or. 772 (Or. 2023), centered on Christine Moody’s fight to receive life insurance benefits after her husband’s accidental death.

A Tragic Loss and a Shocking Denial

Christine Moody’s husband, Troy, was tragically shot and killed during a camping trip. When Christine filed a claim for the life insurance benefits under Troy’s policy with Oregon Community Credit Union (OCCU), the company denied it based on a policy exclusion for deaths caused by or resulting from the insured being “under the influence of any narcotic or other controlled substance.” According to OCCU, toxicology reports indicated the presence of marijuana in Troy’s system at the time of his death.