John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Cohen case brief
John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Cohen case brief summary
254 F.2d 417 (1958)
Defendant insurance company appealed a
judgment of a United States district court, which held in favor of
plaintiff beneficiary upon finding that defendant breached its
contract to provide life insurance to plaintiff's husband. Plaintiff
cross-appealed the portion of the district court's judgment that
refused to award damages for breach of an alleged warranty against
having to employ any firm or persons to collect on the contract.
CASE FACTS Plaintiff beneficiary filed suit
against defendant insurance company for breach of a contract to
provide life insurance to plaintiff's husband and breach of warranty
against having to employ anyone to collect on the contract. The
district court held in favor of plaintiff regarding breach of
contract, but not regarding breach of warranty.
The court remanded
the decision with directions to award plaintiff an amount equal to
payments due to the date of judgment plus interest and to decree that
future installments were to be paid when they fell due.
held that the alleged prior agreement was not controlling over the
erroneous terms embodied in the subsequent policy because no
agreement was reached until the final policy was written.
found that there was a unilateral mistake of defendant and that
plaintiff's husband neither knew or reasonably should have known of
The court held that defendant had a duty to read the
The court held that the contract was a "payment certain"
insurance contract and an unconditional unilateral contract for the
payment of money in future installments.
doctrine of anticipatory breach did not apply.
CONCLUSION The court remanded the district court's
judgment that held in favor of plaintiff beneficiary that defendant
insurance company breached a contract to provide life insurance to
plaintiff's husband. The court held that defendant breached its
contract, but that anticipatory breach was not applicable because the
contract involved the payment of future installments. The court found
no warranty against having to employ anyone to collect on the
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