McKown v. Symetra Life Insurance Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-241-14, 6 pp.) (R. Bryan Harwell, J.) 4:13-cv-00982; D.S.C.
Holding: A reasonable jury could determine that, by accepting a premium payment and depositing the funds, and only returning the premium after three weeks had passed and the defendant-insurer had been informed of the insured’s death, an implied contract (a reinstatement of the insured’s life insurance policy) was created. Accordingly, on reconsideration, the insurer is still not entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s breach of implied contract claim.
The mere fact that the express contract was not reinstated does not mean that a subsequent implied contract did not arise. Regardless of the strength of defendant’s arguments, there is more than a scintilla of evidence as noted by plaintiff:
The insured had already been in a contractual relationship with defendant insurance company since 1989 and had faithfully paid premiums since that time. When he missed a premium in the fall of 2009, the insurance company offered a reinstatement. He sent in the required premium to reinstate the policy and to reinstate a longstanding relationship with the defendant-insurance company. The insurance company cashed the check. The insurance company did not attempt to refund the monies until after the death of the insured.
Contradictory evidence has been presented in the record. Where there is a genuine dispute of fact, the issue should be submitted to the jury.
Accordingly, the court finds no clear error of law or need to prevent manifest injustice, and denies reconsideration.