Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; J. Cullen Ganey, Judge.
Before JONES and McLAUGHLIN, Circuit Judges, and KALODNER, District Judge.
This appeal grows out of a suit in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania upon a policy of life insurance issued by the defendant company. The defendant, admitting liability, paid the net proceeds of the policy into court under a decree of interpleader. All claimants to the fund were made, or duly became, parties to the suit which was tried to the court below upon stipulated facts. The trial court awarded the fund to the insured's executrix on the theory that, under the circumstances shown, there was a resulting trust in respect of the policy in favor of the insured's estate. LeRoy Rice, the named beneficiary in the policy at the time of the insured's death, brings this appeal, assigning as error the trial court's failure to award to him outright the proceeds of the policy as his individual property.
At the time of the issuance of the policy (May 1932) Karl M. Metzger, the insured, named as the beneficiary thereof his "executors or administrators". On October 7, 1938, he executed a "Request for Change of Beneficiary" wherein he named LeRoy Rice, a friend, as the beneficiary of the policy, reserving at that time the right to make further changes of beneficiary. On October 14, 1938, the insurance company noted on the policy the change of beneficiary to Rice. No further changes of beneficiary were made.
On November 6, 1938, the insured wrote Rice as follows:
I was borrowing recently on my life insurance and they advised me to have a definite beneficiary if I should pass out, as I am now a bachelor.
I put you in as my beneficiary and shall put it in my will as such with the proviso that my life insurance $5000.00 in case of normal death - $10,000 for a death thru accident - be divided between 5 of my closest friends of which you naturally are one. The other 4 I shall name in my will.
I hope this is satisfactory to you and that you would carry out my wishes. We can talk it over further, when we next meet.
Take good care of yourself Roy; better than I do.
To the foregoing, Rice responded to Metzger by letter of November ...