Plain Meaning Rule
How to read and figure out the law or Insurance Policy Provisions – Evidence of Coverage
“Read the Statute, Read the Statute, Read the Statute!”
I’m just not this quick to make policy determinations and interpretations. With so few documents in front of the Insurance Agent on TV how does he know? Episode Notes IMDB
President Trump says no one knew healthcare would be so complicated. He could have asked me.
The starting point in statutory construction is the language of the statute itself. The Supreme Court often recites the “plain meaning rule,” as in, King vs Burwell Subsidies in Health Care.Gov upheld, that, if the language of the statute is clear, there is no need to look outside the statute to its legislative history in order to ascertain the statute’s meaning.
A cardinal rule of construction is that a statute should be read as a harmonious whole, with its various parts being interpreted within their broader statutory context in a manner that furthers statutory purposes. A provision that may seem ambiguous in isolation is often clarified by the remainder of the statutory scheme — because the same terminology is used elsewhere in a context that makes its meaning clear, or because only one of the permissible meanings produces a substantive effect that is compatible with the rest of the law.”
In Edgar v. MITE Corp., 457 U.S. 624 (1982), the Supreme Court ruled: “A state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid Federal statute.” In effect, this means that a State law will be found to violate the supremacy clause when either of the following two conditions (or both) exist:
- Compliance with both the Federal and State laws is impossible, or
- “…state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress…”
Resources & Links
Our webpage on mandated privacy notices – scroll down to section on writing in plain English.
Parol Evidence Rule Wikipedia – Contract stands by itself – can’t bring up discussions or agreements that were prior to actually signing the written Contract
The plain meaning of the contract will be followed where the words used—whether written or oral—have a clear and unambiguous meaning. Words are given their ordinary meaning; technical terms are given their technical meaning; and local, cultural, or Trade Usage of terms are recognized as applicable. The circumstances surrounding the formation of the contract are also admissible to aid in the interpretation. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.