September 21st, 2019
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Weaver v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
Opinion Date: September 20, 2019
Judge: Don R. Willett
Areas of Law: Contracts
This contract-interpretation case arose when Diane Weaver's then-husband Larry Hickey suffered a diving incident and the couple received a structured settlement. Years after the couple divorced, Larry passed away. At issue was whether the settlement agreements gave Larry the right to replace Weaver as beneficiary of an annuity. As a preliminary matter, the court held that it had preliminary jurisdiction because the parties were diverse throughout the action. On the merits, the court held that the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of defendants based on the settlement agreements because these documents, read as a cohesive, contextual, harmonious whole, granted Larry the unilateral right to change the beneficiary. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.
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