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Spearman v. Spearman

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
482 F.2d 1203 (5th Cir. 1973)


Facts

Edward Spearman married his first wife, Mary Spearman (defendant), in Alabama, and the Spearmans had two daughters. Later, Edward moved to California and married Viva Spearman (defendant). At the time of his death seven years later, Edward had an insurance policy with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (Metropolitan) (plaintiff), under a group policy in the amount of $10,000. The policy provided that, if no beneficiary were designated, the proceeds were to be paid to Edward’s widow. Edward did not designate a beneficiary. Mary and Viva both claimed to be Edward’s widow for the purpose of receiving the insurance proceeds. Metropolitan filed an interpleader action in federal district court to determine which defendant was the Edward's widow. The district court found, based on the evidence presented, that there had been no legal proceeding dissolving the marriage between Edward and Mary. Further, Viva testified that she was aware of the possibility that Edward’s marriage to Mary had not resulted in divorce. The district court concluded that Mary was Edward’s widow. Viva appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Roney, 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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