Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JOHN HANCOCK MUT. LIFE INS. CO. v. MENSON

May 8, 1951

JOHN HANCOCK MUT. LIFE INS. CO.
v.
MENSON ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, District Judge.

This suit is an interpleader action brought by the plaintiff against the defendants, who are claimants to the proceeds of a certain policy of insurance issued by plaintiff and upon which plaintiff admits liability. Plaintiff has deposited the face amount of the policy in the registry of the court, and the court is called upon to determine which of the two claimants is entitled to the same.

Both defendants have filed responsive pleadings, from which it appears that Cora R. Menson is claiming as the wife of the insured and Dorothearyn Menson Jones is claiming as the daughter of the insured. The answer, and amendment thereof, of the latter alleges that the correct name of the daughter is Dorothearyn Menson Jones rather than Dorothy R. Menson James, as alleged in the complaint. The various pleadings filed by Cora R. Menson challenged the jurisdiction of the court and prayed for the allowance of the statutory 12% penalty and an attorney's fee, but the attorney for Cora R. Menson withdrew said allegations at the trial of the case.

The case came on for trial to the court on April 26, 1951, and at the conclusion of the presentation of evidence, the court announced that it would take the case under advisement pending receipt of citations of authorities from the respective attorneys. The court has considered the pleadings, evidence adduced, exhibits thereto, and the authorities cited by the attorneys, and now makes and files herein its findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated.

Findings of Fact

1

Plaintiff is a Mutual Life Insurance Company, organized under the laws of the State of Massachusetts. Defendant Cora R. Menson was at the time this action was commenced and is now a citizen and resident of El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas. Defendant Dorothearyn Menson Jones was at the time this action was commenced and is now a citizen and resident of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio. The amount involved herein exceeds the sum of $500.00, exclusive of interest and costs.

2

Lovel Menson, hereafter referred to as the insured, was a colored man and during his lifetime resided in El Dorado, Arkansas. He had one child, the defendant, Dorothearyn Menson Jones, born in 1921. His then wife and the mother of Dorothearyn died approximately a year and a half after the birth of Dorothearyn, and he did not remarry until 1944, when he married the defendant, Cora R. Menson. After the death of his first wife, Dorothearyn went to live in the home of her uncle and aunt, Eli and Rosa Modica, in which home her grandmother also resided at the time.

  "Name of      Menson   Dorothy   Ream   Relationship   Wife"
   Beneficiary   Last     First   Middle
  ------------------------------------------------------------

The policy was issued to said insured effective January 15, 1949, for the face amount of $1,000.00, and the beneficiary named in the policy is "Dorothy R Menson — Wife".

In March, 1949, the insured, while engaged in the performance of his duties with the water company either suffered an injury or a stroke, the exact nature of which was not developed and is not important for present purposes, and was either completely or partially disabled from that date until the date of his death November 19, 1950.

At the time of insured's death plaintiff admits that the policy of insurance was in full force and effect and that all conditions precedent to liability on the policy have been duly satisfied.

3

As stated above, the insured resided at the home of Cora R. Menson whose name prior to her marriage was Cora Rogers. Her maiden name was Cora Leslie. The exact nature of their relationship prior to their marriage was not fully developed, but Cora testified that the insured was a boarder. Cora had no children from her marriage to Ellis Rogers, and she and the insured had no children as the result of their marriage.

Certain testimony was introduced in her behalf to the effect that her middle name was "Ruth", but it does not appear that the insured ever referred to her as "Ruth", or that he had knowledge of such middle name. The same is true of their associates, who knew her merely as Cora.

It appears that the insured earned a living for the two until his disability in March, 1949, after which Cora worked and was the main source of income and support.

Cora testified that the insured brought the policy home and gave it to her and that either at the time or later she noticed that it was not made out in her name and questioned the insured about this, but nothing was ever done by either to have the beneficiary correctly and definitely named. The policy has remained in Cora's possession until the present time.

After the death of the insured, the defendant, Cora R. Menson, filed suit in the Chancery Court of Union County to have the policy reformed so as to show Cora R. Menson — Wife, beneficiary, rather than Dorothy R. Menson — Wife, the present designation. The present proceedings were instituted thereafter and resulted in a stay of that suit.

4

As above stated, the defendant, Dorothearyn Menson Jones, was born to the insured and his then wife in 1921, and after the first year and a half of her life was raised by her uncle and aunt. She married Rufus Henry in 1940 and left El Dorado. Until that time she saw her ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.