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PHOENIX MUT. LIFE INS. CO. v. CONNELLY

September 29, 1950

PHOENIX MUT. LIFE INS. CO.
v.
CONNELLY et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SMITH

This is a civil action of interpleader filed under Title 28 United States Code, § 1335, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1335. Pursuant to the provisions of the statute, the plaintiff, having conceded liability under a certain policy of insurance, deposited in the registry of the court the sum admittedly due thereon, to which claim is here made by the defendants Lillian M. Connelly and Eli Sheitelman. *fn1" The defendant Connelly, the designated beneficiary under the policy of insurance, asserts a claim to the whole sum; the defendant Sheitelman, the assignee of the insured, asserts a claim to only a part of the sum, to wit, $ 3000.

Facts

 I.

 The plaintiff, hereinafter identified as the Company, issued a policy of insurance (Policy No. 878,904) on the life of one George F. Connelly, hereinafter identified as the insured. The designated beneficiary was Patricia E. Connelly, the daughter of the insured. The policy of insurance was issued on May 19, 1943 on an application previously filed by the insured.

 II.

 The policy contained the usual provisions and, consistent with the application submitted by the insured, reserved to the insured 'the right to change the beneficiary' upon written notice to the Company. The insured exercised the right thus reserved to him on August 4, 1947, when he designated the defendant Connelly, the wife of the insured, as the principal beneficiary. This change of beneficiary was made after the insured had executed and delivered to the defendant Sheitelman the written assignment here in question.

 III.

 The pertinent provisions of the policy, appearing on page 3 thereof, are as follows:

 'Assignments. The Company assumes no responsibility for the validity of any assignment hereof and shall not be held to have notice of any assignment of this policy until the original assignment, or a copy thereof is received at its Home Office.

 'Beneficiary Provisions. Unless otherwise provided herein, upon the death of any beneficiary hereunder during the lifetime of the insured, any interest of such beneficiary shall revert in equal shares to any surviving beneficiaries then designated hereunder, but if there be none to the insured or assigns. If the insured has reserved the right to change the beneficiary hereunder and such fact is recorded on this policy, the insured, if of legal age, may, whenever and as often as he likes, change any beneficiary designated herein by filing at the Home Office of the Company a written notice thereof duly executed and accompanied by the policy for record of the change thereon by the Company.

 'Rights of Insured. If the right to change the beneficiary has been reserved to the insured, an assignment, release or surrender of this policy or any interest therein by the insured, if of legal age, shall operate to the extent thereof to assign, release or surrender the interest of any and all beneficiaries hereunder.'

 IV.

 The insured applied to the defendant Sheitelman for a loan in the amount of $ 3000 which, after some preliminary negotiations, was granted on or about October 30, 1946. The said defendant paid to the insured (by check dated November 1, 1946) the sum of $ 3000, and the latter executed and delivered to the former a written assignment of the policy as ...


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