Archive for Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lidle’s wife files suit for benefits

March 27, 2007

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— The widow of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle has sued MetLife Inc., claiming she is owed more than $1 million under baseball's benefit plan.

Lidle died in the crash of his small plane Oct. 11 and was covered by the benefit plan of Major League Baseball and its players' association, which had a $450,000 life insurance benefit and an accidental death benefit of $1.05 million.

However, the plan - which applies to all players with major league contracts - contains an exclusion for "any incident related to travel in an aircraft ... while acting in any capacity other than as a passenger."

New York-based MetLife paid Melanie Lidle $450,000, but "has refused to pay the entirety of the policy" despite demands, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The family lived in suburban Glendora during the offseason.

In the complaint, lawyers for Melanie Lidle said they anticipate MetLife will try to claim that Lidle's death occurred while he was acting in the role of pilot, crew member or another capacity and not a passenger.

Melanie Lidle is entitled to the $1.05 million payout because the life insurer can't prove that Cory Lidle was piloting the single-engine Cirrus SR-20 plane that crashed into a Manhattan high-rise, said her lawyer, Stacy King.

"Quite frankly, there were no eyewitnesses that we've been able to find to determine who actually was flying that plane," King said Monday.

The complaint was filed March 9. A status conference hearing is set for July 31, King said.

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