From our private database of 32,200+ case briefs...
Gaunt v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
160 F.2d 599 (1947)
Gaunt completed an application for an insurance policy with John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company (John Hancock) (defendant) through one of its solicitors, Kelman. A clause in the application stated that “if the Company is satisfied that on the date of the completion of Part B of this application I was insurable . . . and if this application . . . is, prior to my death, approved by the Company at its Home Office, the insurance applied for shall be in force as of the date of completion of said Part B.” The application included language directing Gaunt to select either “Date of Part B” or “Date of issue of Policy” as the effective policy date. Gaunt signed the application and paid the first premium. Kelman gave Gaunt a receipt. Kelman took Gaunt to John Hancock’s examining doctor. The doctor found Gaunt to be insurable and recommended that Gaunt be accepted for coverage. The application, premium, and physician report were delivered to Wholey, John Hancock’s agent. Wholey forwarded these documents, along with his recommendation that John Hancock insure Gaunt, to John Hancock’s home office. A doctor at John Hancock’s medical department approved Gaunt’s application from a medical standpoint. Gaunt was later killed by a gunshot. John Hancock learned of Gaunt’s medical approval on the same day that Gaunt died and never approved his application. Gaunt’s mother, Ms. Gaunt (plaintiff), sued John Hancock, seeking to recover the proceeds of Gaunt’s life-insurance policy. The trial court determined that Gaunt intended his policy to become effective on the date Part B was completed and that, had he lived, John Hancock would have approved Gaunt’s application. But the trial court concluded that under the policy's terms, retroactive coverage only applied if the insurer approved the application before the applicant's death. It therefore dismissed Ms. Gaunt's complaint. Ms. Gaunt appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hand, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 585,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 585,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 32,200 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.