The dispute in Guzman v. Allstate Assurance Co. was whether the insured was a smoker when he applied for insurance; the Fifth Circuit concluded that “self-serving” affidavits by family members were sufficient to raise a fact issue and avoid summary judgment. The details offer an excellent, general example about this sort of affidavit:

“Mirna’s and Martha’s affidavits are competent summary judgment evidence. They are based on personal knowledge, set out facts that are admissible in evidence, are given by competent witnesses, and are particularized rather than vague or conclusory. Mirna and Martha testify about their personal experiences with Guzman. In her deposition and affidavit, Mirna claimed that Guzman was not a smoker; that she was often with Guzman and would know if he smoked; that she is “able to tell whether [people] use tobacco because they have a peculiar and specific smoke smell”; and that neither Guzman nor his belongings, including his clothes and truck, ever smelled like smoke. Martha made substantially similar claims in her own affidavit. Though self-serving, this testimony is sufficient to—and does— create a genuine dispute of material fact.”

No. 21-10023 (Nov. 10, 2021).

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