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O'Brien v. Equitable Life Assur. Soc'y

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
212 F.2d 383 (1954)


Mrs. O'Brien (plaintiff) claimed that her husband's violent killing was accidental, and therefore covered by his insurance policy's double indemnity clause. O'Brien sued Equitable Life Assurance Society (Equitable) (defendant) for double indemnity benefits. The law presumes violent death to be accidental, and this presumption was sufficient to establish O'Brien's prima facie case. However, Equitable produced substantial evidence in support of its theory that the husband was killed while committing a criminal assault. In rebuttal, O'Brien cast doubt on Equitable's evidence but offered no substantial evidence to refute it. The trial judge directed the jury's verdict in favor of Equitable. O'Brien appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, arguing that she established a prima facie case that should have been submitted for the jury's consideration.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Collet, J.)

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