ENTERTAINMENT: Heath Ledger's daughter Matilda Rose 'cheated out of $12m'

Posted by queenmadison

HEATH Ledger's two-year-old daughter is being cheated out of a whopping $12 million because an insurer is refusing to settle the Dark Knight star's life insurance policy following his death in January, his former lawyer says.

John S. LaViolette sued ReliaStar Life Insurance in July, insisting the company was trying to avoid paying the claim to Matilda Rose, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The lawsuit doesn't mention Ledger or his daughter's name, but says it is on behalf of a man who died of "accidental causes on January 22, 2008".
That is the date the 28-year-old actor was found dead of an apparent accidental prescription drug overdose in New York.
ReliaStar states in its legal response it is seeking more information about whether Ledger may have lied on paperwork and about whether his death may have been a suicide.
LaViolette's lawsuit claims ReliaStar had to investigate any statements Ledger made in paperwork while the actor was still alive.
The lawsuit was removed from Los Angeles Superior Court to federal court in August.
"We have not rendered a decision on this claim," said Dana Ripley, a spokesman for ING Americas, which owns ReliaStar.
He added he could not comment on specifics about the lawsuit or Ledger's policy.
"This is a very private and confidential matter," he said.
William Shernoff, the lawyer representing LaViolette and Matilda Rose, said ReliaStar has told him it would seek the depositions of a masseuse who found Ledger's body and of actress Mary-Kate Olsen, who received a flurry of phone calls after the body was found.
The insurance company's lawyers also want to question Ledger's co-stars, agents and doctors, Shernoff said.
"There's a young girl whose father died who is entitled to this money, and ReliaStar is doing everything it can to avoid paying," Shernoff said.
He accused the insurer of trying to drag out the payment process, saying the lawsuit could take years to resolve.