Cochis, Alex; Langer, Joe. Courts Say a Recorded Statement is not an
Examination Under Oath. Legal Notes. National Fire and Arson Report. Vol.
14, No. 1 (March 1996). p 14-15.
Abstract: This article summarizes the proceedings of three court
cases, all of which conclude that recorded statements cannot substitute
for examination under oath.
In Previs v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (11th Cir. 1990), the
U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the argument in which the plaintiff claimed
that his recorded statements fulfilled his insurance contractís examination
under oath requirement. The Court held that recorded statements did not
meet the insurance company's stipulation that the insured be questioned
under oath. The Court also ruled that in cases of insurance contract examination,
the Fifth Amendment cannot be used to avoid an examination under oath.
In Watson v. National Surety Corp. (Supreme Court of Iowa 1991), the
court rejected the argument that recorded statements, even if sworn to be
truthful at a later time, constitute an examination under oath, and found
that such examination is a prerequisite to recovery of damages, according
to the contract. Statements attested to at a later time cannot be substituted.
In Fineberg v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. (1994), the courts
cited the above cases and rejected the insured's offer to answer written
questions under oath. The court held that submitting to an examination under
oath was a prerequisite to voluntary payment of a claim under the policy.