O'Hara v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., No. 89-168-A

CourtRhode Island Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWEISBERGER
Citation574 A.2d 135
PartiesJohn T. O'HARA v. The JOHN HANCOCK MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY and Fleet National Bank.
Docket NumberNo. 89-168-A
Decision Date03 May 1990

Page 135

574 A.2d 135
John T. O'HARA
v.
The JOHN HANCOCK MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY and Fleet National Bank.
No. 89-168-A.
Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
May 3, 1990.

John R. Mahoney, Baluch, Mahoney & Gianfrancesco, J. Ryder Kenney, Brennan & Kenney, Providence, for plaintiff.

Douglas A. Giron, Hinckley, Allen, Snyder & Comen, Thomas R. Bender, A. Laurison Parks, Hanson, Curran & Parks, Providence, for defendant.

Page 136

OPINION

WEISBERGER, Justice.

This case comes before us on the plaintiff's appeal from summary judgment entered in favor of both defendants in the Superior Court. We affirm. The facts of the case insofar as pertinent to this appeal are as follows.

On October 3, 1983, John T. O'Hara and Lorraine S. O'Hara, husband and wife, attended a closing of a real estate transaction at the office of Fleet National Bank (Fleet) granting them a loan secured by a mortgage on their home. The mortgage was in the amount of $40,000. Incident to this transaction, the O'Haras completed an application for a group mortgage-insurance policy. The O'Haras filled out certain information on the application and agreed to pay a monthly premium of $16 for coverage under the policy. The group policy was in the possession of Fleet and provided that in the event of the death of a mortgagor (in this case either of the O'Haras) the balance of the mortgage then due would be payable by the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company (Hancock) to Fleet.

On the date of the closing Fleet approved the application for insurance and accepted $32 for two months premiums as required by the policy. The policy of insurance contained the following exclusion in relation to suicide:

"Suicide. In the event any Debtor insured hereunder commits suicide, while sane or insane, within two years from the date he becomes insured hereunder, the amount of Life Insurance payable by the Company, in place of all other benefits, will be equal to the premiums paid to the Company by the Policyholder for Life Insurance on said Debtor in connection with said loan."

It is undisputed that Lorraine O'Hara committed suicide on December 9, 1984, as a result of a self-inflicted bullet wound. In January 1985 John T. O'Hara, plaintiff in this action, applied for payment under the policy. Hancock refused payment and denied coverage on the ground of the specific suicide exclusion contained in the policy. The plaintiff alleges in his complaint, and sets forth in an affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment, that he at no time received any documentation relating to the mortgage insurance and was unaware of any suicide exclusion. He stated that he saw no written instrument save the application. On the basis of this application, plaintiff believed that in the event either he or his wife should die, the outstanding mortgage would be paid by Hancock. He further set forth that he continued to make mortgage payments that included a sum for the life insurance premium. For the purposes of this opinion the...

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10 practice notes
  • Pontbriand v. Sundlun, No. 95-571-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • August 15, 1997
    ...viewed in the light most favorable to the parties opposing the summary-judgment motions. O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I.1990). The moving parties are then entitled to prevail only if the record reveals no remaining issues of material fact, and they ......
  • O'SULLIVAN v. Rhode Island Hosp., No. 2003-70-Appeal.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • May 26, 2005
    ...Accent Store Design, Inc. v. Marathon House, Inc., 674 A.2d 1223, 1225 (R.I. 1996); O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I. 1990). We will affirm a summary judgment if there is no genuine issue of material fact and we conclude that the moving party is entit......
  • Stanley-Bostitch, Inc. v. Regenerative Environmental Equipment Co., Inc., STANLEY-BOSTITC
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • June 30, 1997
    ...if there are no genuine issues of material fact to be decided. Super. R. Civ. P. 56; O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I.1990). In the present case both parties agree that SBI and REECO contracted for the purchase and sale of environmental equipment. The......
  • DelSanto v. Hyundai Motor Finance Co., No. 2003-227-APPEAL.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • August 12, 2005
    ...Accent Store Design, Inc. v. Marathon House, Inc., 674 A.2d 1223, 1225 (R.I. 1996); O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I. 1990). We will affirm a summary judgment if we conclude that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is en......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Pontbriand v. Sundlun, No. 95-571-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • August 15, 1997
    ...viewed in the light most favorable to the parties opposing the summary-judgment motions. O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I.1990). The moving parties are then entitled to prevail only if the record reveals no remaining issues of material fact, and they ......
  • O'SULLIVAN v. Rhode Island Hosp., No. 2003-70-Appeal.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • May 26, 2005
    ...Accent Store Design, Inc. v. Marathon House, Inc., 674 A.2d 1223, 1225 (R.I. 1996); O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I. 1990). We will affirm a summary judgment if there is no genuine issue of material fact and we conclude that the moving party is entit......
  • Stanley-Bostitch, Inc. v. Regenerative Environmental Equipment Co., Inc., STANLEY-BOSTITC
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • June 30, 1997
    ...if there are no genuine issues of material fact to be decided. Super. R. Civ. P. 56; O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I.1990). In the present case both parties agree that SBI and REECO contracted for the purchase and sale of environmental equipment. The......
  • DelSanto v. Hyundai Motor Finance Co., No. 2003-227-APPEAL.
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • August 12, 2005
    ...Accent Store Design, Inc. v. Marathon House, Inc., 674 A.2d 1223, 1225 (R.I. 1996); O'Hara v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., 574 A.2d 135, 136 (R.I. 1990). We will affirm a summary judgment if we conclude that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is en......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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