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THOMPSON v. EQUITABLE LIFE ASSURANCE SOCIETY UNITED STATES (06/30/71)

decided: June 30, 1971.

THOMPSON, APPELLANT,
v.
EQUITABLE LIFE ASSURANCE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES



Appeals from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, No. 848 of 1966 and No. 1911 of 1967, in case of Lenora Thompson, also known as Lenola Thompson v. The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and United States Steel Corporation, successor to Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation; same v. The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and Clairton Works Employees Insurance and Safety Association.

COUNSEL

Samuel J. Goldstein, for appellant.

Richard C. Witt, with him Thomas Lewis Jones, Samuel P. Gerace, and Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace, for appellees.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Dissenting Opinion by Montgomery, J. Hoffman and Cercone, JJ., join in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 340]

Judgment affirmed.

Disposition

Judgment affirmed.

Dissenting Opinion by Montgomery, J.:

In these two actions in assumpsit the plaintiff-appellant, Lenora Thompson, sought to recover from the defendants-appellees, The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and United States Steel Corporation, the sums of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively on two group insurance certificates issued by The Equitable

[ 218 Pa. Super. Page 341]

Life Assurance Society of the United States. The named insured on the certificates was appellant's husband, Coster Thompson, who was an employee of United States Steel Corporation (or its predecessor, Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation), continually from 1935 until April 26, 1946. The insured died on January 16, 1947. However, the appellant, who was the named beneficiary on the certificates, did not notify the insurance company of her husband's death until 1965. Suit was not filed for the $2,000 claim until March 29, 1966; and the $1,000 claim until June 27, 1967. The actions were tried before Hon. Loran L. Lewis, Judge, sitting without a jury, on October 2, 1969. Judge Lewis entered verdicts for the defendants; and after exceptions were dismissed by a court en banc, these appeals were taken.

The appellees here have not objected to the lower court's holding, that the subject insurance on the life of appellant's late husband was in effect at the time of his death on January 16, 1947. However, the lower court denied recovery on the basis that appellant's claims were barred by the six-year statute of limitations on contract actions in Pennsylvania. The appellant argues that these certificates were specialty contracts, or contracts under seal, and, thus, her claims are not barred, since ...


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