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Goldbard v. Empire State Mutual Life Ins. Co.

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division
171 N.Y.S.2d 194 (1958)


Facts

After Goldbard (plaintiff), a barber, injured his hand, he filed a disability insurance claim with his insurer, Empire State Mutual Life Ins. Co. (Empire Mutual) (defendant). Empire Mutual disagreed with the severity of the injury, and the parties’ dispute was brought before the State Insurance Department (Department). While meeting before a Department representative, Empire Mutual offered Goldbard $800 to settle the dispute, provided that Goldbard surrender his policy, which would be terminated. Goldbard rejected the offer. Later that day, however, Goldbard asked the Department representative to convey to Empire Mutual his acceptance of the $800 and his agreement not to seek renewal of the policy. Empire Mutual sent Goldbard a letter instructing him to surrender his policy and sign a release in order to receive the $800. Goldbard did not respond. He then filed a lawsuit against Empire Mutual. The Municipal Court judge found in Goldbard’s favor after a nonjury trial and awarded him $2,800. The Appellate Term reduced the award to $800, and Goldbard appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Breitel, J.)

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