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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Autoerotic Asphyxiation. Wow! Can you say that three times?

This case involved the issue of whether the survivor of a person who died while engaged in the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation, was entitled to life insurance benefits where there was an exclusion for intentionally self-inflicted injuries. As this is a family blog, for those of you not familiar with the practice, click here for an explanation. The district court granted summary judgment to the insurance company, holding that the practice constituted an intentional self-inflicted injury.

On August 12, 2003, the Second Circuit, by a 2 to 1 majority, voted to affirm. A judge of the Court requested a poll to have the appeal reheard en banc. While the poll was pending, one of the judges on the panel changed his mind, and a new opinion in Critchlow v. First Unum Life Insurance Co., which can be found here, was issued. The dissent can be found here. Henceforth in the Second Circuit, autoerotic asphyxiation is not an intentional self-inflicted injury for insurance purposes.

It's great to be back.

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