Allstate loses first stage of attempt to disqualify its insured from receiving benefits
Laura Springborn was injured when another car rear-ended her car while it was stopped to allow a train to pass through an intersection. Springborn's husband was driving the car; he was not negligent and no one claims he contributed to causing the collision. Nevertheless, Allstate refused to pay Springborn's no fault insurance claim and instead sought to void her policy. It claimed that in her on-line application for insurance, she had identified herself as "divorced" so as to avoid identifying her husband who had a poor driving record.Allstate provided the Court with a copy of one page of computer data, which it claimed supported the suggestion of Springborn's fraudulent application, but the insurer provided no testimony that would have corroborated its claim or the accuracy of the data sheet. Springborn testified that she had no memory of checking the "divorced" box on the computer application and expressed disbelief that she would have done so. The trial court dismissed her claim for insurance benefits, but the Court of Appeals returned the case to the lower court.
The appellate judges pointed out that Allstate had not met its burden of proving a fraudulent misrepresentation by Springborn, and that a question of fact was raised by the circumstances of her application. At least in the form in reached the Court of Appeals, the document relied upon by Allstate was not properly authenticated, unreliable and not admissible.