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Alexander Hamilton Life Insurance Co. v. Lewis

Supreme Court of Kentucky
550 S.W.2d 558 (1977)


Facts

Edwin and Ida Lewis (defendants) had a daughter who disappeared. The Lewises brought suit against Alexander Hamilton Life Insurance Company of America (Hamilton) (plaintiff) for the face amount of two insurance policies on their daughter’s life. A judgment was entered in the Lewises’ favor and paid by Hamilton. Later, on July 25, 1971, the Lewises learned that their daughter was still alive. Hamilton moved to have the judgment set aside. Initially, Hamilton’s motion was denied. However, the denial was subsequently set aside, and Hamilton’s motion was granted. Hamilton also sought repayment of the money that had been paid to the Lewises. The Lewises had spent the money for paying off a note, for home improvements, for educating their son, on automobiles, and for the medical expenses and care of their returned daughter. The Lewises were left with significantly less in cash than the money received, but their net worth substantially exceeded the amount received. The trial court, after hearing evidence regarding the Lewises’ disposition of the money and their financial condition, entered a judgment of restitution directing them to repay half the money they had collected from Hamilton, without interest. Hamilton appealed, seeking the full amount of the money paid. The Lewises cross-appealed, arguing that an order of restitution would be inequitable.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Palmore, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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