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IKIRT v. LEE NATL. CORP.

July 8, 1965

Ernest M. IKIRT, Catesby B. Cannon and Joseph J. Smith on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
LEE NATIONAL CORPORATION and Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LORD, JR.

This proceeding is presently before the Court on the Plaintiffs' motion to enjoin the Defendants Lee National Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Lee) and Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee (hereinafter referred to as Provident) from discontinuing or otherwise affecting the group life and medical insurance maintained by the said Defendants with respect to the class of retired salaried employees of Lee Represented by the Plaintiffs. Pending a final determination of this cause, Plaintiffs pray for a Preliminary Injunction restraining the Defendants from such act or acts.

Upon pleadings and proof and after a full review of the notes of testimony and exhibits taken at a hearing on the within matter, due consideration of all briefs and arguments of counsel, this Court makes the following

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiffs are Ernest M. Ikirt, Catesby B. Cannon and Joseph J. Smith, all residents of Ohio. They are former salaried retired employees of Defendant Lee National Corporation or of its wholly owned subsidiary, Republic Rubber Company.

 2. Defendant Lee, formerly Lee Rubber and Tire Corporation, is a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, maintaining a place of business in the borough of Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

 3. Defendant Provident is an insurance company with its principal place of business in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but transacting business in Pennsylvania and authorized to issue policies of insurance therein.

 4. On or before December 20, 1946, Lee voluntarily instituted a group insurance plan providing life and medical insurance for the benefit of its employees and their dependents.

 5. The benefits under this plan were initially insured under policies issued by Connecticut General Life Insurance Company.

 6. Under the plan as initially instituted, the premiums charged by the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company for the insurance coverage provided Lee's employees were paid by Lee and the coverage for the dependents was paid by the employees.

 7. The group insurance plan was modified and the benefits thereunder changed from time to time between 1946 and 1959.

 8. In 1953 the plan was modified to provide for the entire cost of the insurance coverage under the plan to be paid by Lee.

 9. The plan was further modified in 1953 to extend coverage thereunder for the first time to Lee's retired employees.

 10. In 1959, the insurance coverage under the plan was transferred from Connecticut General Life Insurance Company to The Travelers' Insurance Company.

 11. Booklets describing the benefits under the group insurance plan and the modifications thereto were distributed on several occasions to the employees eligible for coverage under the plan.

 12. Letters explaining the benefits under the group insurance plan and the modifications thereto were also distributed on occasion to the employees covered thereby.

 13. There was no mention in any of these communications that the insurance coverage under the plan was of indefinite duration or that it could not be modified or terminated by Lee.

 14. Ikirt, as General Manager of Lee's Republic Division at Youngstown, Ohio, in writing to six retiring salaried employees of Lee during the period June 27, 1958 through September 26, 1960, advised these employees that their insurance coverage under the plan would be carried 'as long as you shall live'.

 15. In other letters written to retiring salaried employees both before and after the period 1958-1961, Ikirt did not state that the insurance coverage under the plan would be carried 'as long as you shall live', or otherwise advise these employees ...


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