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Insurance company balks at Lane claim

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The insurance company with a $5 million policy on Fred Lane's life has balked at paying the claim, believing his estranged wife took out the policy with the intention to murder the former NFL player.

Connecticut-based C.M. Life Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greensboro on Friday, asking the court to decide who should get the $5 million. The company claims the policy is invalid because Deidra Lane murdered Lane to collect the money.

The lawsuit said the policy was procured primarily through the efforts of Deidra Lane about a month before the shooting, and that she filed a claim on the policy a month after Lane was killed. It also said Lane's signature was forged on the policy application.

"Upon information and belief," the lawsuit reads, "Deidra Lane procured the policy with the present intent to murder Fred Lane."

Deidra Lane, 26, has admitted to killing her husband with a shotgun in the Lanes' Charlotte home on July 6, 2000. But she claims it was self-defense. She is in a Mecklenburg County jail awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges.

The lawsuit was filed three days after Lane's father, Fred Lane Sr., and his former girlfriend, Regina Enochs, sued in Mecklenburg Superior Court on behalf of the football player's estate and his 4-year-old daughter, Regine Enochs.

Lane Sr. and Enochs are suing Deidra Lane for wrongful death and C.M. Life for refusing to pay them the $5 million.

Lane's attorney, Henderson Hill, couldn't be reached Monday to respond to the allegations.

The insurance company said it's not clear who would get the money if the policy is found valid. North Carolina law prohibits a person who killed another from collecting that person's life insurance proceeds. In such cases, the money is passed on to the next survivor in line.

The policy lists Deidra Lane as the primary beneficiary and Grant Lane as the secondary beneficiary. But the insurance company said it believes Grant Lane is really Grant Austin Gary, Deidra Lane's child from a previous relationship.

Other possible heirs mentioned by C.M. Life Insurance are Gary; Enochs of Nashville, Tenn.; Sable Evelyn Leigh Hudson, a child in Jackson, Tenn.; and Pilarr Lane, Lane's daughter by Deidra Lane.