Williams v. Kasal

Decision Date01 April 1983
PartiesGeorgia H. WILLIAMS v. Clennon KASAL. 81-782.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

Joseph J. Boswell, Mobile, for appellant.

J. Edward Thornton, Mobile, for appellee.

TORBERT, Chief Justice.

This action was brought by the plaintiff, Georgia H. Williams, against Prudential Insurance Company of America (hereinafter Prudential) and Clennon Kasal, an agent for Prudential. This appeal concerns only the dismissal of the agent, Kasal, by the trial court.

Prudential issued a life insurance policy in the face amount of $10,000 on the life of William L. Appling. Georgia H. Williams was the named beneficiary on that policy. Appling died in April of 1981.

The defendant Kasal, following the death of the insured, contacted the named beneficiary Williams, and allegedly represented to her that the policy was in full force and effect, that the face amount of the policy would be paid, and that it was necessary for her to surrender to him the policy in order to make a claim for the benefits. Subsequently, Prudential refused to pay Williams on the basis of a lapse in premium payments by Appling.

The complaint included four causes of action. Cause of action one was for breach of contract against Prudential for the face amount of the policy ($10,000). Cause of action two was for conversion of the policy by Prudential for the face amount of the policy and an additional sum of $150,000 as punitive damages. Cause of action four was for Prudential's alleged bad faith refusal to pay, with damages claimed of $500,000.

The third cause of action, which is at issue here, was for fraud and deceit against both Prudential and Kasal, and claimed damages of $250,000. The complaint read:

"Williams avers that at the time she surrendered physical possession of the Policy to Prudential as aforesaid Prudential, by and through its agent Kasal, represented to Williams that the Policy was in full force and effect at the time of the death of Appling and represented to Williams that the face amount of the Policy would be paid to Williams as the beneficiary thereof upon her making claim for such life insurance benefits and surrendering physical possession of the Policy to Prudential. Williams avers she made claim for the life insurance benefits and in reliance on such representation she surrendered physical possession of the Policy to Prudential as aforesaid. Williams further avers that at the time said representations were made that they were false and known to be false and were made without any present intention on the part of Prudential to pay to Williams the said life insurance benefits but were made with the intent to defraud and deceive Williams to obtain physical possession of the Policy and Williams was in fact defrauded and deceived and damaged by such false representations.

"WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against defendants in the sum of TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND ($250,000.00) DOLLARS, plus cost."

On November 2, 1981, Kasal filed a combined motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and motion to strike the claim for punitive damages. By order dated January 5, 1982, the trial court granted Kasal's motion to dismiss the complaint. The trial court directed entry of final judgment as to that dismissal, pursuant to Rule 54(b), A.R.Civ.P., and Williams filed a notice of appeal.

Williams's cause of action is controlled by Code 1975, §§ 6-5-101 and 6-5-103:

"Misrepresentations of a material fact made willfully to deceive, or recklessly without knowledge, and acted on by the opposite party, or if made by mistake and innocently and acted on by the opposite party, constitute legal fraud." Code 1975, § 6-5-101.

"Willful misrepresentation of a material fact made to induce another to act, and upon which he does act to his injury, will give a right of action. Mere concealment of such a fact, unless done in such a manner as to deceive and...

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5 cases
  • Hughes v. Cox
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 12 Junio 1992
    ...... the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure was accompanied by the abolition of the harsh rules of pleading that had been followed by our courts." Williams v. Kasal, 429 So.2d 1008, 1010 (Ala.1983), citing B & M Homes, Inc. v. Hogan, 376 So.2d 667 (Ala.1979). The rules are designed to prevent preclusion ......
  • Boykin v. Arthur Andersen & Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 25 Febrero 1994
    ...Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim should seldom be granted. Garrett v. Hadden, 495 So.2d 616, 617 (Ala.1986); Williams v. Kasal, 429 So.2d 1008, 1009 (Ala.1983). The standard of review applicable to Rule 12(b)(6) dismissals is set forth in Seals v. City of Columbia, 575 So.2d 1061 ......
  • Strain v. Hinkle
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 28 Septiembre 1984
    ...the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Rule 12(b)(6), A.R.Civ.P. Williams v. Kasal, 429 So.2d 1008 (Ala.1983); Winn-Dixie Montgomery, Inc. v. Henderson, 371 So.2d 899 (Ala.1979); Dunson v. Friedlander Realty, 369 So.2d 792 (Ala.197......
  • Campbell v. Sims
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 28 Junio 1996
    ...doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." ' " Williams v. Kasal, 429 So.2d 1008, 1009 (Ala.1983). (Citations omitted.) Simply stated, "if under a provable set of facts, upon any cognizable theory of law, a complaint states......
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