The opinion of the court was delivered by: HALL
On May 5, 1935, Robert Arens, now deceased, married L. Arens, the interpleading plaintiff.
On May 30, 1942, a daughter was born to them.
On January 31, 1939, the deceased executed a written application for life insurance to the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company at Hartford, Connecticut for $ 5,000 designating as beneficiary, 'Marie L. Arens, Wife', which policy was, on February 3, 1939, executed and thereafter delivered in New York and the first premium paid. Deceased paid all premiums at all times from then until his death. It is the proceeds of this policy now on deposit in this court with which this litigation is concerned.
On December 10, 1945, the above-named entered into a property settlement agreement in New York. It made no reference to the insurance policy.
On January 24, 1946, Marie Arens obtained a decree of absolute divorce from the deceased in the state of Nevada. The decree awarded the custody of the child to Marie Arens. It made no mention of the property agreement, or property rights, or of the insurance policy.
On March 1, 1946, the deceased married plaintiff's sister Elsa, (the defendant here, and executor of deceased's estate) and moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where deceased died and where his estate is now in probate.
On July 5, 1946, the deceased filed with the life insurance company a 'request for change of beneficiary' to 'Marie L. Arens -- former wife'.
On July 16, 1946, the insurance company recorded this change of beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the policy.
On August 31, 1946, the said Robert Arens died.
All of the foregoing facts are admitted by both parties.
The defendant contends however, that at the time of the execution of the so-called 'change of beneficiary', he was laboring under the idea that when he died, his estate would be under no obligation to continue payments to his former wife, the plaintiff here, under or by virtue of the terms of the settlement agreement between them of December 10, 1945, and that such idea on the part of the deceased, constitutes a mistake which entitles defendant to a reformation of the insurance contract so that the estate of the deceased will be the beneficiary. The plaintiff, Marie Arens, is making claim for payments under said contract from the estate and the defendant is contesting such claim in the Pennsylvania State Courts. The defendant asserts that if plaintiff here does not prevail in such contest, she 'will permit' the proceeds of the insurance policy to go to the plaintiff here.
The question on this motion for a summary judgment under Rule 56, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A.following section 723c, is whether or not the alleged 'mistake' of the deceased constitutes a 'material' fact, and if so, then whether or not there is a 'genuine issue' as to such mistake.
The 'mistake', if any, must have been in connection with the so-called 'change' of beneficiary. It is so asserted by the defendant. There is no mistake asserted as to the original policy, or the ...