Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Greguhn v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. case brief

Greguhn v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. case brief summary
461 P.2d 285 (1969)

Defendants insurers sought review of a judgment of a trial court (Utah), which found in favor of plaintiff insured in his actions against each of the insurers to recover benefits due under health and accident policies issued by them for work-related injuries and disability. The two separate actions were consolidated for trial.

The insured had two policies covering him against loss arising from sickness or accident. The insurers paid benefits for a while after the insured had a work related accident, but after their failure to further perform, these actions resulted. On appeal, the insurers argued that the evidence failed to show that the insured was totally disabled and that his disability did not result from the accident alone exclusive of all other causes.


  • The court partially affirmed and remanded with instructions. 
  • The court held that there was no dispute in the evidence that the disability resulted proximately from the accident and that the nondisabling and dormant condition of the plaintiff's back was precipitated into a disabling condition by the accident. 
  • However, the insurers took the insured in the condition they found him when they issued his policies. 
  • However, it was error to grant an award for future disability under the doctrine of anticipatory breach. 
  • The insurers were obligated to make the payments, but in a unilateral contract for the payment in installments after default of one or more, no repudiation amounted to an anticipatory breach of the rest of the installments not yet due.

The court affirmed that part of the judgment finding that the insurers were required to pay benefits to the insured, but remanded to the trial court with directions to modify its judgment so as to eliminate that part of the judgment pertaining to future benefits under the policies.

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