46 Abercorn Place, Winchburgh
INSURANCE COMPANY SUED.
ALLEGED FALSE REPRESENTATIONS.
Winchburgh Case in Linlithgow Sheriff Court.
An interlocutor has been issued by Sheriff Moffatt at Linlithgow in a case in which the British Legal and United Provident Assurance Company, Ltd., were sued by Mrs Helen Haddow, widow, Abercorn Place, Winchburgh, for a sum of £10 13s, being the difference between £9 9s which the company paid to her in respect of the death of her husband and the sum of £20 2s, which she alleged to be due to her under a policy of insurance with the company.
Pursuer stated she was married in December, 1897, to John Haddow, a miner, in the employment of the Oakbank Oil Company. Ltd., first at Tarbrax and then at Winchburgh, who was working for that company until a few days before his death in October, 1917. About the end of June or beginning of July, 1915, the pursuer took out a policy of insurance over her husband's life with defenders for £20 2s, payable at death, and the premium of sixpence a week was paid regularly until her husband's death. Pursuer further stated that several days after her husband's death she was called upon by defenders (??) superintendent, who, she alleges, gave her the £9 9s to account. The superintendent states his company had made investigations, and ascertained that the pursuer's husband had been a "done" man for five years, and that the company did not require to pay anything under the policy. Pursuer denied her husband had been a "done" man for five years, and said that prior to his illness he had been regularly at work for many years. The superintendent, it was alleged, then said he would make a payment of £9 9s meantime, which sum he laid on the table, and that he would go to Edinburgh to see about the balance. Pursuer then signed a paper, the terms of which were not read to her. Had she been aware that this paper was a full discharge of her claim under the policy, she would not have signed it, as she never had any intention of accepting less than the sum of £20 2s, the full amount in the policy.
Defenders averred that the death was certified to have resulted from chronic bronchitis and cardiac failure, and as the policy was little more than two years old, they made inquiries as tot eh state of the deceased's health at the time the policy was issued, with the result the determined to repudiate liability in respect that that the contract had been vitiated by misrepresentations contained in the proposal. The pursuer, it was alleged, was informed of this decision and, after an interview between her and her brother-in-law with the defenders superintendent, she accepted the £9 9s in full settlement, and the sum was paid over there and then. It was also averred that both pursuer and her brother-in-law read over the discharge which was given, and the superintendent reminded her before she signed that she was signing for a full settlement.
The Sheriff, who allowed a proof as to what took place when the sum of £9 9s was paid to the pursuer, had found the pursuer did not execute the discharge under essential error, and that the discharge ought not to be set aside. He finds the pursuer liable in expenses to the defenders. In the course of a "note" his Lordship says the whole question in this case was whether the discharge was executed by the pursuer under essential error induced by misrepresentation on the part of the representative of the defenders. After hesitation and with some difficulty he had come to the conclusion that it was not. Pursuer put forward a strong case, but a very strong case must be made out by a party seeking to set aside a solmen(sic) deed signed by herself. The sanctity of tested writs was not to be lightly impugned, and he was not prepared to set aside this tested deed.
Linlithgowshire Gazette, 26 April 1918