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BUGEN v. NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY. (09/25/62)

September 25, 1962

BUGEN, APPELLANT,
v.
NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 181, Jan. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Sept. T., 1960, No. 60, in case of Louis Bugen v. New York Life Insurance Company. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

William P. Hogan, with him J. Douglas Fackenthal, and Hogan and Scott, and Fackenthal, Teel and McGiffert, for appellant.

Edward J. Fox, Jr., with him Fox, Oldt & Hambrook, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 408 Pa. Page 474]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

This is an action to recover the proceeds allegedly due under the terms of a life insurance contract. A jury trial resulted in a verdict for the defendant. Motions for a new trial or judgment non obstante veredicto were dismissed. Plaintiff appeals from the judgment entered on the verdict.

The insured, Harry Laveton, died on January 14, 1960. In his possession at the time of death was the insurance policy involved, which named his uncle, the plaintiff herein, as the beneficiary. The policy bore an issue date of June 3, 1959, but recited that it was effective as of December 8, 1927.

The company refused payment to the plaintiff after demand, and eventually paid the full proceeds due thereunder to the insured's widow, Polly Laveton. Its position was that the plaintiff's name was inserted in the policy as the beneficiary by the mistake of one of its employees and that the real, intended and legal beneficiary as of the date of death was the insured's widow.

Judgment n.o.v.

In resolving the merits of the motion for judgment n.o.v., the crucial question for determination is whether or not the evidence was legally sufficient to support the finding of the jury that a mistake had occurred in

[ 408 Pa. Page 475]

    the draftsmanship of the policy. This is a question of law. ...


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