Stark v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States

285 N.W. 466 (1939)

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Stark v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States

Minnesota Supreme Court
285 N.W. 466 (1939)

Facts

Stark (plaintiff) purchased an insurance policy from Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States (Equitable) (defendant). The policy instructed the insured to settle claims only through the nearest authorized agent. Stark had a friendship with the Equitable agent through whom Stark dealt. When Stark became disabled, the agent told Stark that his disability was not covered by the policy. The agent knew this statement was false. The agent also knew that Stark had little knowledge of insurance. Stark did not pursue a claim until discovering 10 years later that his disability was covered by the policy, by which point the policy was no longer in effect. Stark brought an action against Equitable to recover the disability annuity. Equitable demurred, asserting that the misrepresentations were of law and therefore outside the statute of limitations. The demurrer was overruled. Equitable appealed. The Minnesota Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gallagher, C.J.)

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