Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2002


More than a quarter-century has passed since I entered law school as a first-year student and began what has become a career of reading, among other things, cases. I cannot even guess the number of cases I have read in the ensuing years. Most of them have been fairly ordinary, but many have been wonderful for one reason or another. Because I hope to read at least as many cases during my next twenty-five years (or more) of legal study, I am not yet ready to crown any particular case with the title of "my favorite," "the most significant," or a similar salutation.

Lakin v. Postal Life & Casualty Co is a relatively simple story of two men whose paths crossed in Kansas City, Missouri, more than forty years ago. One was a down-in-the-luck drifter, and the other a con-artist who made his living by taking advantage of others. These two men would be long forgotten but for the fact that their final interactions during a hunting trip near Pleasant Hill, Missouri, raised some insurance law issues that ultimately made their way to the Missouri Supreme Court. Lakin stands for the unremarkable proposition that the legal relationship of one partner to another is not, by itself, sufficient to establish an insurable interest. If one partner takes out insurance on the life of the other partner in circumstances where the partner cestui que vie has neither capital nor skills to contribute to the partnership, it does not automatically follow that the partner who owns the policy on the other's life has an insurable interest sufficient to support the policy.

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Insurance Law Commons



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