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Beck v. Physicians Mutual Insurance Co.

August 22, 2007

DEBORAH BECK, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF ELSIE MCDONALD-HAWKINS DECEASED PLAINTIFF
v.
PHYSICIANS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James M. Moody United States District Judge

ORDER

Pending before the Court is defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff has responded to the motion. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted (#43).

Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment with respect to her rights under an insurance policy issued to Elsie McDonald-Hawkins, deceased ("Hawkins"). Plaintiff also makes a (1) breach of contract claim based upon defendant's refusal to pay benefits due under Hawkins' Accident and Sickness Hospital Confinement Indemnity Policy; and (2) a tort claim of bad faith based upon allegations that defendant made misleading representations regarding policy benefits to Hawkins and failed to adequately investigate plaintiff's claim. Plaintiff seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

Defendants contend that (1) plaintiff is not entitled to benefits because Hawkins death was not caused by an accident; (2) plaintiff has presented insufficient evidence of bad faith; (3) the claim of bad faith is barred by the applicable statute of limitations; (4) and punitive damages are not warranted.

I. Undisputed Facts

The following facts are not in dispute.

1. Defendant issued a hospital indemnity policy with Policy Number 018-492-624 to Hawkins on December 6, 2001.

2. Hawkins added an accidental death benefit to her existing policy in March of 2002.

3. In June of 2002, Hawkins fell in her home and struck her head.

4. Hawkins was taken by ambulance to the Drew Medical Center.

5. Dr. Robert Jacobs treated Hawkins in the emergency room.

6. A CT scan of Hawkins brain taken at Drew Memorial Hospital revealed a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

7. Hawkins was transferred to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock where she was treated by Dr. Arthur E. Squire and Dr. Reza Shahim. ...


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