- Former FedEx driver Lesly Taboada-Hall died of uterine cancer in 2013
- She passed away six days before a Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage
- Ms Taboada-Hall married Stacy Schuett a day before she died in hospital
- But Ms Schuett’s legal team says FedEx determined she was not eligible as a spouse to receive the $400,000 pension benefit
- She claims the Supreme Ruling should apply ‘retroactively’ in her case
- FedEx says federal law requires it to ‘apply the pension plan rules equally to all participants’
Julian Robinson for MailOnline
05:56 EST, 15 January 2015
08:08 EST, 15 January 2015
A woman is suing Fedex over her wife’s $400,000 spousal death benefit – which the company is refusing to pay because it would not recognize their marriage.
Lesly Taboada-Hall, who was a driver for the company for 26 years, lost her battle with uterine cancer two years ago.
But because she died six days before a landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, FedEx determined that wife Stacy Schuett, of California, was not eligible to receive the pension benefit, her lawyers say.
Stacy Schuett (left), from California, lost her wife Lesly Taboada-Hall (right) to uterine cancer in 2013. The pair are pictured with their two children two years ago
NBC News reported that Ms Taboada-Hall passed away on June 20, 2013 – days before the Supreme Court struck down an important part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which blocked federal recognition of gay marriage.
Some firms used DOMA to decide who was the legal souse before paying out survivor benefits.
Although FedEx did recognize 54-year-old Ms Schuett as a spouse for smaller survivor benefits, her lawyers believe she should be entitled to more.
NBC News reported that the pair were married in hospital just a day before Ms Taboada-Hall died and that a judge in California later ruled the marriage was valid.
Ms Schuett (right) said her wife Lesly Taboada-Hall (left) had enjoyed working for FedEx and that the firm had treated her well during her battle with cancer
The legal team for Ms Schuett, who has two children aged 19 and 15, have sued in the federal court, claiming the Supreme Court ruling should apply ‘retroactively’.
She told NBC News that her wife had enjoyed working for FedEx and that the firm had treated her well during her battle with cancer – but that the couple learned of the company’s decision a week before her death.
She said: ‘To discover at the 11th hour that there was this other looming problem was pretty shocking to us. She was really worried about what was going to be happening to us after she died.’
NBC News quotes a FedEx spokesman as saying that it was ‘saddened’ by the passing of Ms Taboada-Hall and that she was a valued member of staff adding: ‘Ms Schuett’s claim has been carefully reviewed, and while we are sympathetic to her situation, we are required by federal law to apply the pension plan rules equally to all participants.’