The United States District Court for the District of Maryland entered summary judgment on behalf of a life insurer represented by ACK. The plaintiff was the beneficiary under his wife’s policy. His wife had completed a medical questionnaire in support of her application for life insurance without revealing that she had recently undergone an echocardiogram. The plaintiff’s wife died within the two year contestability period provided under the policy and permitted by Maryland law. During the insurer’s contestability investigation, the insurer discovered the echocardiogram.
The echocardiogram showed a thickened ventricular wall which, if known to the insurer at the time the policy was issued, would have resulted in a premium significantly greater than the premium charged according to the insurer’s established underwriting guidelines. The insurer denied the claim and rescinded the policy based on the applicant’s failure to disclose the echocardiogram, claiming that the results of the echocardiogram were material to the risk.
The issue presented in the case was whether the medical questionnaire clearly called for the disclosure of the echocardiogram. The plaintiff claimed that the questionnaire was ambiguous and should be construed against the insurer. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Gregory L. VanGeison briefed the case on behalf of the insurer. United States District Court Judge Paul Grimm agreed that the failure to disclose the echocardiogram in response to the medical questionnaire constituted a material misrepresentation on the application and entered summary judgment on behalf of the insurer.