Saturday, April 13, 2024

Neosho School District reaches lawsuit settlement with husband of teacher who died from COVID-19

The Neosho R-5 School District and the company that manages its insurance benefits reached a lawsuit settlement with the husband of a teacher who died August 4, 2021 of complications from COVID-19.

Details of the district's settlement with Matthew Osborne were not included in online court documents.

Osborne filed the action against the district, his wife's insurance company and the benefit management company after it failed to pay a life insurance claim following the death of Goodman Elementary School counselor Melissa Osborne (pictured), according to the lawsuit.

Mrs. Osborne, who previously taught at Benton, Carver and Goodman elementary schools in the R-5 District, signed up for a life insurance plan with a $150,000 benefit May 12, 2021, with the policy scheduled to go into effect July 1.

Two weeks later, when Osborne received her check from the district, the $98.63 premium for the life insurance had been deducted, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by her husband as executor of her estate.

But after Osborne's death, the lawsuit claims, the insurance company claims more paperwork was needed, a check for the $98.63 was returned to Osborne's husband, Matthew Osborne, with a notation that it was for a totally different insurance that had been terminated in 2019.

The lawsuit listed American Heritage Life Insurance Company, Insurance Benefits Consultants, LLC and the Neosho R-5 School District as defendants and claime the district was negligent in hiring Insurance Benefits Consultants (IBC) and hired the company "based on the familial relationship between its initial principals and employees and Superintendent of Neosho SD."

Tana Wise, the IBC customer service advocate/office manager who was handling the district's account and who acknowledged Osborne's acquisition of the policy, is Superintendent Jim Cummins' sister. Cummins is retiring June 30.

Osborne was diagnosed with a sinus infection July 2, 2021 and tested positive for COVID-19 the next day. Three days later, she was taken by ambulance to Freeman. On July 7, she was placed on a ventilator.

As her condition worsened, Matthew Osborne, who had concerns about her health insurance coverage, began reviewing her benefits and on July 18, noticed the word "pending" and was told "Tana Wise was going to follow up with Melissa because she had chosen two life insurance policies and wanted to make sure that was her intent."

Osborne was told "Evidence of Insurability (EOI) may be required, "but was never provided further instruction despite continued follow-up calls."

Melissa Osborne died August 4, 2021.

When her husband followed up with Cummins about the policy, he was told "there should be no problem with the life insurance," according to the lawsuit. Osborne went to the ICI offices and was told by Jay Boice at IBC that he saw no reason why the insurance shouldn't pay out.

On February 16, 2022, American Heritage Life Insurance refunded the $98.63 premium saying that it was from a policy that had been terminated in December 2019 due to a "non-payment of premiums."

After the company was told it was mistaken, it wrote back, once again denying benefits and saying that no paper application had ever been received. Osborne said he and his wife had never been told by IBC that any paperwork was required and had said "her open enrollment in the various benefits was complete on May 12, 2021."

Osborne sued American Heritage Life Insurance for breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay, IBC for two counts of negligence and the Neosho R-5 School District for two counts of negligence.

Osborne was represented by Phillip Donald Greathouse of the Joplin law firm Warten, Fisher, Lee and Brown.

(Editor's note: The settlement was reached in January with Judge Greg Stremel dismissing the case with prejudice January 8. I apologize for not catching then when it was filed.)


Anonymous said...

More Neosho tangled web.

Anonymous said...

Educators, stay away from this evil, backward, & cursed little town.

Anonymous said...

That statement says more about you than it does all the great people who live and work here.

Anonymous said...

Neosho needs a complete turnover of administration and school board. Nepotism and the good ol'boy network need to go.

Anonymous said...

Carthage is trying hard to catch up to Neosho.

Anonymous said...

Demons have set up shop in Neosho

Anonymous said...

Once again the hospital killed another Covid patient, that’s who killed most of them

Anonymous said...

And doing very well at it, I might add!

Anonymous said...

Remember your quote next time you need a Dr. or a hospital. Maybe a Veterinarian will treat you.

Anonymous said...

229 is an ignorant loser. Covid killed because deplorables like 229 and others like him, believed MAGAt world and the conspiracies that followed. Afraid of the truth and embracing right wing lies, many died and infected others because 229 doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself and the rest of the bucket of deplorables.