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Lundeen v. Cordner

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
354 F.2d 401 (8th Cir. 1966)


Facts

Joseph Cordner and his former wife Patricia Ann Lundeen (plaintiff) had two children, Maureen and Michael (children). Joseph had a life insurance policy with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (Metropolitan) (defendant) that named the children as the beneficiaries. After Mr. Cordner divorced plaintiff, he married France Cordner. Subsequently, Mr. Cordner died. Lundeen brought suit on behalf of the children against Metropolitan, seeking to recover the proceeds of the policy. Metropolitan responded that there were adverse claims to the proceeds. Northwestern, the trustee of Mr. Cordner’s will, was interpleaded as a defendant. Additionally, France Cordner intervened in the proceeding, producing affidavits and exhibits that allegedly showed that Mr. Cordner had changed his policy so that France Cordner was the beneficiary. France Cordner produced a letter to Mr. Cordner from his attorney suggesting the type of form needed to change Mr. Cordner’s beneficiaries. Mr. Cordner’s attorney also submitted an affidavit stating that Mr. Cordner had told him that he wanted to change his beneficiary. In addition, Harold Burks, an employee of Mr. Cordner’s former company, filed affidavits indicating that Mr. Cordner had executed the paperwork to assign France Cordner as a beneficiary of the insurance policy and that the paperwork had been filed, but simply could not be located. Lundeen provided no contradictory evidence, but rather merely an affidavit stating that Mr. Cordner was interested in the welfare of the children. France Cordner moved for summary judgment and the trial court granted her motion. Lundeen appealed on the grounds that there was still a genuine issue of material fact and, specifically, that she should be entitled to cross examine Burks at trial because the summary judgment rested heavily on his affidavits.

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