Examination Under Oath: Hutchinson v. Allstate Ins. Co.

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, applying Georgia law, recently held that an insured’s refusal to submit an examination under oath (EUO), as required by his insurance contract, is an adequate basis for summary judgment to be granted on claims of breach of contract and bad faith. Following a house fire, plaintiff insured filed claims against the insurer pursuant to his insurance contract. During the insurer’s investigation of the claim, doubts arose as to whether or not the insured actually resided at the residence prior to the fire.

An EUO was requested pursuant to the insurance agreement. Although appearing for the EUO, the insured refused to move forward with the process. The insured was warned that his failure to proceed and answer questions would result in a material breach of contract, which would likely result in denial of the claim. The court found that the insured’s failure to comply with the EUO resulted in a breach of contract under Georgia law, noting that the insured’s subsequent offer to be examined neither cured the previous breach nor reinstated the insurers obligation to pay the claim. Due to the insured’s failure to comply with his obligation under the contract, the insurer was within their right to deny his claim.