Duff v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America

Decision Date18 June 1917
Docket NumberNo. 74.,74.
Citation90 N.J.Law 646,101 A. 371
CourtNew Jersey Supreme Court

(Syllabus by the Court.)

Appeal from Supreme Court.

Suit by Richard H. Duff, administrator, etc., of John Sullivan, deceased, against the Prudential Insurance Company of America. From a judgment of the Supreme Court, reversing a judgment of the district court of Jersey City in favor of the defendant, it appeals. Judgment reversed, and judgment of district court affirmed.

Randolph Perkins, of Jersey City, for appellant. Hershenstein & Finnerty, of Jersey City, for appellee.

BLACK, J. This was a suit brought on an industrial life insurance policy, issued to the decedent, John Sullivan, by the defendant company, for the sum of $244, on September 21, 1914. The insured died of tuberculosis at the City Hospital, in Jersey City, June 13, 1915. The case was tried, in the First district court of Jersey City, by Judge Carrick, without a jury, resulting in a judgment rendered in favor of the defendant.

The trial court found, as a fact, the statement made by the insured, in his application, that he had never suffered from consumption, in view of the previous history of the case, to have been a willful untruth, which vitiates the policy and prevents recovery thereunder. The evidence in the record amply supports this finding of fact by the trial court. The case was reviewed in the Supreme Court, which reversed the judgment of the district court, on the ground that the false statement in the application, if it was false, did not vitiate the policy, in the absence of proof that the company was induced to write the policy through fraud. The Supreme Court also said the case is substantially, though not precisely, similar to Melick v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 84 N. J. Law, 437, 87 Atl. 75, affirmed 85 N. J. Law, 727, 91 Atl. 1070, in which the determining factor was the continued acceptance of weekly premiums by the company. We do not agree with the conclusion reached by the Supreme Court. We think the judgment of the Supreme Court should be reversed, and the judgment of the district court affirmed.

In the application for the policy of insurance, which was dated September 9, 1914, the insured stated that he had never suffered from consumption, that he was in good condition of health, and had no serious disease. The company defended on the ground of the falsity of these statements. The policy itself does not refer to the application for insurance. The statements in the application are not made warranties or...

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25 cases
  • Russ v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court
    • November 9, 1970
    ...which is an essential ingredient of legal fraud, it would certainly be a 'knowing' misrepresentation. See Duff v. Prudential Ins. Co., 90 N.J.L. 646, 648, 101 A. 371 (E. & A.1917). The language used by defendant in paragraph 21 of the counter-claim is the classic form of allegation for asse......
  • Amoskeag Trust Co. v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am.
    • United States
    • New Hampshire Supreme Court
    • May 7, 1936
    ...AMOSKEAG TRUST CO. v. PRUDENTIAL INS. CO. OF AMERICA ... Supreme Court of New Hampshire. Hillsborough ... May 7, 1936 ...         Exceptions from Superior Court, Hillsborough County; Scammon, ... Eastern Dist. Piece Dye Works v. Travelers' Ins. Co., supra; Duff v. Prudential Ins. Co., 90 N.J.Law, ... 646, 101 A. 371; Guarraia v. Met. Life Ins. Co, 90 N.J.Law, 682, 101 A. 298; Brunjes v. Met. Life Ins. Co., ... ...
  • Ettelson v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • November 18, 1947
    ...from this court. Ettelson v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 1942, 317 U. S. 188, 63 S.Ct. 163, 87 L.Ed. 176. 3 Duff v. Prudential Insurance Co., 1917, 90 N.J.L. 646, 101 A. 371; Urback v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 1943, 130 N.J.L. 210, 211, 32 A.2d 337, 338. 4 Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.......
  • Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Alvarez.
    • United States
    • New Jersey Court of Chancery
    • February 11, 1943
    ...Life Ins. Co., 127 N.J.L. 585, 23 A.2d 568; DeVinney v. Prudential Ins. Co., 128 N.J.L. 270, 25 A.2d 254; Duff v. Prudential Ins. Co., 90 N.J.L. 646, 101 A. 371. The complainant will be granted the relief prayed ...
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