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Hinds v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co.

155 A.2d 721 (1959)

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Hinds v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Maine Supreme Judicial Court

155 A.2d 721 (1959)

Facts

David Hinds (plaintiff), a minor, was the beneficiary of his father Donald’s life-insurance policy. The policy entitled Hinds to $9,000 in the event of Donald’s death and an additional $9,000 if the death was caused by violent, external, and accidental means. Donald’s body was found in his kitchen with a gunshot wound to the head. There was no sign of a struggle. Evidence indicated that the gun was pressed to Donald’s temple when it was fired and that the path of the bullet was horizontal, right to left through Donald’s head. Donald’s wife sued John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company (the insurance company) (defendant) on Hinds’s behalf to recover $18,000 under the policy. At trial, Hinds offered no evidence that the death was not suicide but largely relied on the presumption against suicide. The jury returned a verdict in Hinds’s favor for the full $18,000. The insurance company appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Webber, J.)

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