Death at the Awahnee


Civil action by P against D Insurance Company on an insurance policy issued by D on the life of V, naming P as the beneficiary. The policy covers only accidental death, expressly excluding death by suicide. At trial, P's first witness is C, the caretaker of the Awahnee Hunting Lodge. C testifies that on December 31, 1989, she found V's body near the lodge; V's body was clad in hunting clothes and was warm and supple. Next to the body C found a double-barrel shotgun with one barrel discharged; there was a gaping wound in V's chest. C is then excused by P.

At this point what alternative procedures could be followed by D to elicit further testimony from C that on December 25, she had Christmas dinner with V at the lodge, that C and V had many strong drinks, that V drank a lot but ate nothing, that V said he had advanced cancer and remarked, "As the '80s end, so will I"?

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