Judge clears USAA in colonel's death

Chris Rizo Jun. 18, 2008, 9:39pm

BOERNE, Texas (Legal Newsline)-A Texas judge ruled Wednesday that the death of Air Force Col. Philip Shue was a homicide, and that USAA properly handled an insurance policy on his life.

Shue in 1999 asked USAA to cancel a $500,000 insurance policy on his life that was held by his ex-wife, Nancy Shue Timpson.

He told the San Antonio-based insurance company he believed his life was in danger because of the policy.

USAA denied Shue's request, telling him only the owner of the policy could cancel. The company told him to contact officials if he believed he was in danger.

Shue was killed in a car accident in April 2003, near Boerne, Texas. His death was ruled a suicide. USAA eventually paid the policy's proceeds to Timpson.

However, Shue's wife Tracy Shue, claimed he was murdered. She sued both Timpson and USAA.

Tracy Shue eventually settled her lawsuit against Timpson, allowing Timpson to receive the proceeds of the policy.

In his ruling Wednesday, Judge William Palmer found that USAA did not have a duty to cancel the insurance policy. He also found that Shue's death was a homicide.

"We have said all along that USAA handled the Shue policy correctly and the lawsuit had no merit," said Paul Berry, USAA Company Spokesman.

"USAA stood on principle and has defended this case aggressively for several years. Because we knew we acted appropriately, we had to protect the reputation of our company and the interests of our membership and employees," he said in a statement.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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