Russell v Williams

58 Cal. 2d 487, 24 Cal. Rptr. 859, 374 P.2d 827 (1962)

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Russell v Williams

California Supreme Court
58 Cal. 2d 487, 24 Cal. Rptr. 859, 374 P.2d 827 (1962)

  • Written by Sheryl McGrath, JD

Facts

Dorothy Russell (plaintiff) and John Mouser were married, and they owned a 13-acre property, with improvements, in a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Russell and Mouser divorced in November 1957. The divorce judgment had no property settlement and no resolution of property rights; the 13-acre property and the improvements were still held as a joint tenancy. After the divorce, Mouser lived on the property and obtained a fire insurance contract covering the improvements. Mouser was the named insured on the insurance contract, and Mouser paid the premiums on the contract. Russell was unaware of the insurance contract. In the spring of 1958, a fire destroyed the improvements on the property. Mouser died about six weeks after the fire. Upon Mouser’s death, Russell became the sole owner of the property. The insurance company paid the proceeds of the fire insurance contract to Mouser’s estate. Russell sued Mouser’s estate administrator, Williams (defendant). In the complaint, Russell alleged that as the owner of the property, the insurance proceeds must be paid to her. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Williams, and Russell appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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