Shapiro v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 51.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Writing for the CourtHEHER, Justice.
Citation168 A. 637
Docket NumberNo. 51.,51.
Decision Date27 September 1933
168 A. 637


No. 51.

Court of Errors and Appeals of New Jersey.

Sept. 27, 1933.

Appeal from Court of Chancery.

Suit by Betty Shapiro against the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. From a decree in favor of the complainant (110 N. J. Eq. 287, 159 A. 680), the defendant appeals.

Decree affirmed.

Perkins, Drewen & Nugent, of Jersey City, for appellant.

Seclow & Nessanbaum, of Bayonne, for respondent.

HEHER, Justice.

On May 1, 1930, appellant issued a policy of insurance upon the life of respondent's father, Barney Laden. The insured died on April 20, 1931. Tumor of the media terminus was the cause of death. The policy provided that it should be incontestable after it had been in force for a period of two years from the date of issue. Respondent's bill alleged that insured, prior to his death, requested appellant, in the manner provided by the policy, to designate her as the beneficiary thereunder, and prayed that appellant be decreed to indorse the requested change of beneficiary on the policy, and pay the amount thereof to her. Appellant counterclaimed, alleging that the policy was "fraudulently obtained," in that false statements and representations relative to material matters were made by the insured "with intent to deceive" appellant, and praying a rescission of the contract and a surrender of the policy for cancellation.

The false statements specified were: (a) That he was in good health; (b) that he had never been sick; (c) that he was without any physical defect or infirmity; (d) that he had never had asthma, bronchitis, or tumor; and (e) that he had never been attended by any physician in the preceding period of five years.

The learned Vice Chancellor concluded that the insured, in making the statements and

168 A. 638

representations claimed to be false, did not have an intent to deceive, and that they were therefore not "fraudulent" within the meaning of the policy provision required by chapter 179 of the Laws of 1925 (Pamph. L. 1925, p. 436 [Comp. St. Supp. § 99—94]), stipulating, inter alia, that "all statements purporting to be made by the insured shall, in the absence of fraud, he deemed representations and not warranties."

Appellant insists that these representations were untrue in fact, and related to matters material to the risk assumed, and that even though made without conscious fraud, it was entitled to a rescission in equity. Passing the question as to the obligation resting upon appellant, under the issue framed, to prove moral or conscious fraud (Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Sussman, 109 N. J. Eq. 582, 158 A. 406) we have reached the conclusion that false representations, in the particulars indicated, were not made by the insured. The proofs did not tend to establish the falsity of the representation that he had not been attended by a physician in the preceding period of five years. He had not been "attended" by a physician within the meaning of that term as employed in the policy. In the event of an...

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23 cases
  • Merchants Indem. Corp. v. Eggleston, A--71
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • March 19, 1962
    ...the opinion is held rather than to the validity of the opinion itself. See Shapiro v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 114 N.J.Eq. 378, 381, 168 A. 637 (E. & A. 1933). It is not difficult to frame questions which will elicit such Page 124 facts concerning the subject as bear upon the acceptance ......
  • Russ v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • November 9, 1970 all--it is neither legal nor equitable fraud. See Johnson, supra; Shapiro v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 114 N.J.Eq. 378, 168 A. 637 (E. & A.1933); Colonial Life Ins. Co. of America v. [270 A.2d 763] Mazur, 25 N.J.Super. 254, 260, 96 A.2d 95 (Ch.Div.1953); Ettelson v. Metropolitan L......
  • Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Burno
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 7, 1941
    ...4 Cir., 93 F.2d 765;Sommer v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 281 N.Y. 508, 24 N.E.2d 308;Shapiro v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 114 N.J.Eq. 378, 168 A. 637;National Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Wicker, 171 Okl. 241, 43 P.2d 50, 100 A.L.R. 357.Evans v. Penn Mutual Life Ins. Co., 322 Pa. 547, 186 A. ......
  • Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Tarnowski, 227.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 29, 1941
    ...20 A.2d 424 false to the knowledge of the insured, and deceit conclusively appears. Shapiro v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 114 N.J.Eq. 378, 168 A. 637; Anders v. Knights of Honor, 51 N.J.L. 175, 17 A. 119; Clayton v. General Accident etc, Assur. Corp, 104 N.J.L. 364, 140 A. 307; Metropolita......
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