Starting a small business? Already own one and have questions? Ask the experts in AARP's small business roundtable discussion.
by Robin Gerber, AARP Bulletin, October 12, 2009
In June 2007, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin agreed with the circuit court that Golden Rule’s contract with the Auls was unconscionable in terms of its substance. Patricia Aul’s breast cancer bore no medical connection to the benign cysts, which she had disclosed when she received the policy. Golden Rule should not have included a rider that had no medical basis.
But the court’s finding was not enough for the Auls to win the case. An unconscionable contract must be both unreasonable in substance, as Golden Rule’s rider was, and also be negotiated in a way that was unfair to the weaker party.
The court found that the Auls were well educated, experienced in shopping for insurance and capable of understanding the terms of the contract that were fully explained to them. The court rejected the idea that Golden Rule’s rider had put a black mark on Patricia’s record if she tried to get other insurance. The Auls had not tried to get other insurance, so they had not proved that they were backed into a corner by Golden Rule in terms of accepting the contract. Golden Rule was within its rights to deny Patricia’s breast cancer coverage.
Patricia Aul’s health story does have a happy ending. She had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and took Tamoxifin for the next five years. Today, she is a cancer survivor, and “doing just fine,” according to her husband.
What do you think of the verdict? Let us know in the Community Commentary below.
Robin Gerber is a lawyer and the author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 25% on their first healthy meal delivery order of 99+.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at