Pruco Life Ins. Co. v. Wilmington Trust Co., No. 12-2227 (1st Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Pruco Life Insurance Company sought rescission of a life insurance policy, owned by the Paul E. L'Archevesque Special Revocable Trust on the life of Paul L'Archevesque, after it discovered that the policy application contained material misrepresentations about the health of Paul. Pruco tendered to Wilmington Trust Company, a co-trustee of the trust, a check in the amount of the policy premiums paid along with a letter stating Pruco was rescinding the policy. Wilmington cashed the check. Pruco subsequently filed a complaint seeking a rescission of the policy and a declaration that the policy was void ab initio. The district court granted summary judgment to Pruco, concluding that, under the circumstances, a mutual rescission had taken place as a matter of law. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly interpreted Rhode Island law regarding the standard for mutual rescission; (2) there were no genuine issues of material fact concerning whether Pruco made material misrepresentations in its rescission letter that could have prevented summary judgment; and (3) the district court did not err in finding that the issue of whether Pruco acted in bad faith was irrelevant to the rescission analysis.