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MacKenzie v. Prudential Insurance Company of America

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
411 F.2d 781 (6th Cir. 1969)


Facts

Marcella MacKenzie (plaintiff) sought to collect as a beneficiary under a life insurance policy issued to her husband, Jerome MacKenzie, by Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential) (defendant). Prudential refused to pay Marcella the proceeds of the policy. In order for the insurance policy to take effect, Jerome was required to truthfully answer if he had suffered or ever been treated for heart problems, including high blood pressure. At the time Jerome applied for the policy, he had never suffered from any heart problems. After the application was complete, but before it was delivered, Jerome was treated for high blood pressure. Jerome did not disclose this high blood pressure to his Prudential agent when the policy was delivered. According to Prudential, if Jerome had told the truth about his heart problems when the policy was delivered, Prudential would have either declined to issue the policy or increased the insurance premium. Prudential asserted that Jerome’s omission of this information constituted a material misrepresentation that voided the policy. Marcella brought an action against Prudential in Kentucky state court. The action was removed to federal district court due to diversity of citizenship. The district court granted summary judgment to Prudential. MacKenzie appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Combs, 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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