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Dominguez v. Equitable Life Assurance

Court of Appeal of Florida
438 So. 2d 58 (1983)


Facts

Antonio Dominguez (plaintiff) was issued a disability-income insurance policy by Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States (Equitable Life) (defendant). Shortly thereafter, Dominguez was involved in a car accident. Dominguez was serious injured in the crash, including having both of his eyes knocked out of their sockets. Dominguez was declared permanently disabled and eligible to receive insurance benefits of $500 per month under the insurance policy. Approximately six years later, an Equitable Life employee visited Dominguez and falsely represented that the insurance company received a letter from Dominguez’s eye doctor stating that Dominguez’s eyes functioned properly and that he was therefore no longer permanently disabled. The representative claimed that Dominguez was no longer covered by the insurance policy and attempted to have Dominguez sign a document relieving Equitable Life from making continued payments. Dominguez did not sign the document. Thereafter, Equitable Life stopped making insurance payments to Dominguez. Dominguez filed suit against Equitable Life for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Dominguez argued that Equitable Life’s representative knew that the statement from the eye doctor was false and that the representative’s statements to Dominguez were made with the intention of cancelling the insurance policy and in violation of the company’s duty of good faith. The trial court dismissed the complaint because Dominguez failed to allege additional tortious conduct committed by Equitable Life. Dominguez appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Pearson, 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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