The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rambo, District Judge.
The captioned action was tried to the court in a nonjury
proceeding on March 18, 1991. The plaintiff, Lloyd E. Spinner
(Spinner), and defendants Dolores A. and Bernard B. Fulton (the
Fultons) are, respectively, the surviving husband and parents of
Ylynne M. Fulton ("decedent" or Ylynne Fulton), who died in
Philadelphia on April 5, 1988. Spinner was married to but
separated from decedent at the time of her death. For the past
several years, Spinner and the Fultons have been involved in a
dispute over the proper distribution of the estate and insurance
proceeds on the life of the decedent. Only the dispute over the
insurance proceeds is before this court. The parties have raised
certain issues that make a brief discussion of the state court
The estate matter was decided in favor of the Fultons by an
administrative law judge of the Philadelphia Orphans' Court, who
ruled that defendant had forfeited his intestate share of
decedent's estate as a result of his consent to their separation.
That decision was overturned by an en banc panel of the
Philadelphia Orphans' Court, which ruled that the administrative
law judge erred and abused his discretion in finding that Spinner
had consented to the separation.*fn1 That decision is now before
the Pennsylvania Superior Court on appeal.
In the course of the life insurance dispute before this court,
the parties have argued whether and to what extent this court
must be bound by the findings of fact in the related state
action. In light of the facts that the administrative law judge
made certain findings of fact, the court en banc made certain
contrary findings of fact, the case is now on appeal before the
Superior Court, and the issues before this court are distinct
from those before the state court, this court will not adopt any
of the findings of fact from the state court decision.
Accordingly, the court makes its own findings of fact.
1. Plaintiff Lloyd Spinner is an adult individual who currently
resides in Woodstock, Virginia.
2. Defendant Dolores A. Fulton is an adult individual who
currently resides in Harrisburg, Pa.
3. Defendant Bernard B. Fulton is an adult individual who
currently resides in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
4. Ylynne M. Fulton was the daughter of Dolores A. and Bernard
5. Spinner married Ylynne M. Fulton on or about August 2, 1984.
6. After their marriage, Ylynne Fulton and Spinner lived in an
apartment together in Virginia for several months at most.
7. Ylynne Fulton withdrew from the marital apartment in
Virginia for unexplained reasons in either September or November
1984, after which time Spinner never saw Ylynne Fulton again.
8. After Ylynne Fulton withdrew from the marital apartment, she
and Spinner remained separated but legally married until Ylynne
Fulton's death on April 5, 1988.
9. When Ylynne Fulton left the marital apartment in Virginia,
she resided for a time in Connecticut, then in Atlantic City, New
Jersey with her father, and finally, at the time ...