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PRUDENTIAL INS. CO. OF AMERICA v. DOUGLAS

February 19, 1953

PRUDENTIAL INS. CO. OF AMERICA
v.
DOUGLAS et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MEANEY

Plaintiff commenced this proceeding pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Interpleader Act, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1335. The suit involves an insurance policy issued on the life of Daniel R. Douglas, now deceased. Defendants Edward Braislin Douglas and Lucy Douglas Day, executor and executrix of the estate of the insured, assert their right to the proceeds of the policy, as does defendant Lucille Boyle, friend of the insured and last named beneficiary on the policy. Douglas and Day are citizens of New Jersey, while Lucille Boyle is a citizen of Connecticut. Plaintiff has paid the proceeds of the policy into the registry of the court and seeks a determination of the conflicting claims and a discharge of itself from any liability by or under the policy as regards these defendants. Defendants Douglas and Day filed a counterclaim, and defendant Boyle has filed a cross-claim. No evidence was presented as to these last named pleadings and no reference has been made to them in the briefs of the parties. Consequently they are deemed to have been abandoned.

Trial was held without a jury and decision reserved pending the submission of briefs.

 Findings of Fact.

 1. On April 15, 1937, plaintiff executed and delivered to Daniel R. Douglas a paid-up life policy numbered P-20154.

 2. This policy contained the following provision relating to assignments: 'If this Policy shall be assigned, the assignment must be in writing, and the Company shall not be deemed to have knowledge of such assignment unless the original or a duplicate thereof is filed at the Home Office of the Company. The Company will not assume any responsibility for the validity of an assignment.'

 3. On June 29, 1937, at the request of Daniel R. Douglas, the insured, and the then beneficiary, a rider providing for the right of the insured to effect a change of beneficiary was appended to and made part of the policy.

 4. Said change of beneficiary was to be effected by giving written notice to the Company at its home office. In addition said change was ' * * * to be subject to the rights of any previous assignee and to become effective only when a provision embodying such change has been endorsed on or attached to the Policy by the Company * * * '.

 5. Daniel R. Douglas from time to time effected changes of beneficiary. These changes were accomplished in the prescribed manner.

 6. In October, 1948 Daniel R. Douglas requested plaintiff to change the beneficiary under the policy to the name of Lucille Boyle.

 7. The proper form, dated as of November 19, 1948, was sent to the plaintiff.

 8. Action was taken upon this request and the change was accomplished as of December 2, 1948.

 9. A rider to this effect, bearing endorsement date of December 2, 1948, was appended to and made part of the policy.

 10. In the above-mentioned notification to change beneficiary, there was also an instruction to return the policy to the beneficiary, defendant Boyle, at her residence in Connecticut.

 11. On April 13, 1949, Daniel R. Douglas wrote to plaintiff authorizing a change of beneficiary to the executors, administrators or assigns of the insured. ...


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