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Evidence Keyed to Sklansky
Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Hillmon
Citation:145 U.S. 285 (1892)
The plaintiff brought an action against defendant on a policy of insurance on the life of her husband. The plaintiff also brought claims against other insurers. In each case, the plaintiff claimed that her husband died during the continuance of the policy, but the insurer refused to pay any proceeds. Each insurer denied the death of the husband, alleging that he had faked his death to defraud insurers.
After the cases had been consolidated, the plaintiff introduced evidence showing that on or about 1879, the husband and another left Wichita, Kansas and that while they were in camp at a place called “Crooked Creek”, the husband was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun. However, the insurers argued that the body that was found was not actually the husband but a boy named Frederick Adolph Walters. To support this argument, the insurers introduced testimony from Walters’s sister and girlfriend, who both claimed to have received letters written by Walters. The letters revealed that Walters planned to travel with the plaintiff’s husband. However, neither witness was allowed to discuss the contents of the letters on hearsay grounds. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The defendants appealed.
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