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Nunn v. Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 15, 2014

RONALD NUNN AND DONALD VADEN, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
MASSACHUSETTS CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, NKA CENTRE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee, SUN LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY OF CANADA, Defendant

Argued August 21, 2013.

Page 110

Defendant-Appellee, Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Company (" MCIC" ), petitions for rehearing following our decision in Nunn v. Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Co., 743 F.3d 365 (2d Cir. 2014). The petition is granted, and the opinion filed February 24, 2014 is withdrawn. For the reasons that follow in our revised opinion, the district court's order and judgment dismissing Plaintiffs' complaint is VACATED and the case is REMANDED to the district court for further proceedings in accord with this opinion.

DAVID M. BERNARD, Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, P.C., Bridgeport, CT, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

PATRICK M. FAHEY, (Mark K. Ostrowski, on the brief), Shipman & Goodwin LLP, Hartford, CT, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: LEVAL, WESLEY, AND HALL, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 111

Wesley, Circuit Judge:

Defendant-Appellee, Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Company (" MCIC" ), petitions for rehearing following our decision in Nunn v. Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Co., 743 F.3d 365 (2d Cir. 2014). The petition is granted, and the opinion filed February 24, 2014 is withdrawn. For the reasons that follow in our revised opinion, the district court's order and judgment dismissing Plaintiffs' complaint is VACATED and the case is REMANDED to the district court for further proceedings in accord with this opinion.

Plaintiffs-Appellants appeal from a September 10, 2012 order of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Arterton, J .) granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment. The district court erred in failing to correctly apply Pennsylvania's reasonable expectations doctrine to Plaintiffs' reformation claims and in finding the breach of contract claims to be time-barred. We therefore VACATE and REMAND in accord with the following.

BACKGROUND

Ronald Nunn and Donald Vaden are former National Basketball Association (" NBA" ) referees. In September 1996, Plaintiffs participated in a referee training camp in New Jersey and attended a union meeting hosted by the National Basketball Referees Association (the " NBRA" ). At the meeting, Steven Lucas, a sales representative for Sun Life of Canada, the company MCIC had designated as its administrator for disability income products, gave a presentation about supplemental disability insurance offered by MCIC. Sun Life authorized Lucas to solicit applications for MCIC's insurance policies. He was introduced as a " disability expert" with seventeen years' experience. During the presentation, Lucas described a supplemental

Page 112

disability policy he had implemented for umpires with Major League Baseball. Lucas also explained to Plaintiffs that their current insurance coverage might be insufficient if they became unable to work, but that he could offer supplemental disability insurance that " changes the taxable benefit to a tax free benefit. It changes the benefit period from 10 years to age 65. It covers you in your own occupation. If you can't do your job you're disabled." (Transcript of Fall NBRA Presentation at 8, Sept. 29, 1996). Lucas detailed how the supplemental insurance worked, specifically describing the " own occupation" aspect of the arrangement:

this program is a function of you being covered in your occupation at the time disability starts. If you can't be an official but you can work in a store some place you go ahead and work there. I mean, you are totally disabled from being an NBA official that is what the disability is based on.

( Id. at 33) (emphasis added). He stressed repeatedly that one of the supplemental insurance's key advantages was that it covered policy-holders unable to perform their " own occupation" -- here, NBA referee -- until they were sixty-five years old, regardless of the extent of disability. Lucas reiterated this point numerous times and further explained that while their current disability policy only paid benefits for ten years after disability, his company's policy would make monthly payments to age sixty-five no matter when the insured became disabled. ( Id. at 10). Again and again he counseled the gathered referees that " [t]hey are all still going to collect the [monthly payments] through the age of 65[; ]" the " fact that it is issued to age 65 it guarantees you that the supplement is truly that because ...


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