H. STEVE SLAUGHTER, ET UX. Plaintiffs-Appellants
CENTRAL UNITED LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY Defendant-Appellee
Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for
the Parish of Bossier, Louisiana Trial Court No. 149, 281
Honorable Jeff Cox, Judge
PESNELL LAW FIRM, APLC Billy R. Pesnell J. Whitney Pesnell W.
Alan Pesnell Counsel for Appellants.
and REESE, LLP William B. Gaudet Gerard J. Gaudet Counsel for
BROWN, WILLIAMS, and STEPHENS, JJ.
Steve and Minnie Slaughter, husband and wife, appeal from a
judgment sustaining an exception of prescription filed by
defendant, Central United Life Insurance Company, dismissing
all of Plaintiffs' claims for disability insurance
benefits, surrender value, and refunds of premiums paid from
the date of disability. For the following reasons, we affirm
in part, reverse in part, and remand.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 1983, Plaintiffs purchased a guaranteed health and
accident insurance policy insuring the life and health of
Minnie Masters Slaughter against disability from Consolidated
American Life Insurance Company. At oral argument, we were
told that Mrs. Slaughter was employed by the Slaughters'
own business, Steve Motors and Truck Parts, and this policy
was part of a group insurance package. Consolidated American
Life Insurance Company and the policy were subsequently
acquired by Central United Life Insurance Company
("Defendant" or "Central United"), by and
through a merger.
paid all of the premiums due on or in connection with the
policy and maintained the policy in full force and effect at
all times through February 16, 2016. On that date, Plaintiffs
filed their petition, alleging that in February 1994, Mrs.
Slaughter became totally disabled as the result of a nervous
breakdown and depression and has been totally and
continuously disabled at all times since February of l994.
sought to recover from Defendant the policy's limit of 60
months (five years) of indemnity payments at $940 per month
for a total of $56, 400, together with legal interest on
those monthly payments from the date on which each of those
monthly payments became due until paid. The petition did not
specify which 60-month period for which Plaintiffs were
in the alternative, Plaintiffs requested "a refund of
all premiums paid by petitioners, from February of 1994
through March of 1999, which, under the Policy, were waived
during her disability for a period of five (5) years,
together with legal interest from the date of payment until
the date of refund."
their argument to the trial court and in their appellate
brief, Plaintiffs urged that the written proof of loss sets
out that Mrs. Slaughter's claim for continuous disability
benefits could potentially be any 60-month period between
1994 and 2015, including the 60-month period immediately
prior to January 1, 2015 (i.e., from January 2010 to January
with the petition are a copy of the insurance policy, a copy
of the "Individual Disability Claim Form," a list
of treating physicians, a copy of the "Occupational
Information" form, a copy of the "Attending
Physician's Initial Report" form, and a copy of the
"General Power of Attorney."
physician's report indicates that Mrs. Slaughter's
condition developed as a result of a "self-inflicted
gunshot wound to the chest in 1994 due to her
depression" and the physician, Dr. Shane Carr, was first
consulted in 1999. It also shows that Mrs. Slaughter had
onset dementia in 2014. The doctor wrote, "Her husband
is trying to get benefits for disability going back to 1994.
My record of her illness is limited." As of a report
dated January 20, 2015, Dr. Carr's diagnosis for Mrs.
Slaughter was anxiety/depression ...