Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Underwood v. Buzby

decided: September 11, 1956.

HARRY C. UNDERWOOD
v.
THOMAS F. BUZBY INDIVIDUALLY AND TRADING AS MARYLAND-PENNSYLVANIA EXPRESS, DEFENDANT, AND E. HUBSCHMAN & SONS, INC., THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT. AMERICAN FIDELITY & CASUALTY COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT.



Author: Van Dusen

Before MARIS and McLAUGHLIN, Circuit Judges, and VAN DUSEN, District Judge.

VAN DUSEN, District Judge.

This case raises the question of whether the trial court was correct in holding that a public liability insurance carrier is required by the following terms of its policy to pay interest on the uninsured portion of a verdict from the date of entry of judgment on that verdict to the date of payment into court of the proceeds of the policy and interest thereon:*fn1

"As respects the insurance afforded by the other terms of this policy under coverages A and B the company shall: * * *

"(c) pay all expenses incurred by the company, all costs taxed against the insured in any such suit and all interest accruing after entry of judgment until the company has paid, tendered or deposited in court such part of such judgment as does not exceed the limit of the company's liability thereon; * * *

"The amounts incurred under this insuring agreement, except settlement of claims and suits, are payable by the company in addition to the applicable limit of liability of this policy."

Condition No. 8 of the policy provides:

"The insured shall cooperate with the company and, upon the company's request shall * * * assist * * * in the conduct of suits."

Although the question is not free from doubt, due to the preamble first quoted referring to "the insurance afforded by * * * Coverage A" which limits the liability to $25,000, we think the district court rightly applied the well recognized rule of law requiring interpretation of such an insurance contract against the insurer,*fn2 who has prepared it and who could easily have made clear the restrictive interpretation of the literal meaning of the words "all interest accruing after entry of judgment until the company has paid, tendered, or deposited in court such part of such judgment as does not exceed the limit of the company's liability thereon," for which it contends. Recognizing that the court decisions are in conflict on the interpretation of this wording in insurance contracts,*fn3 we believe the reasoning of Judge Clary's opinion in this case and of Chief Judge Hutcheson's opinion in Wilkerson v. Maryland Casualty Co., D.C.E.D.Va.1953, 119 F.Supp. 383, 388, affirmed per curiam, 4 Cir., 1954, 210 F.2d 245, is that which would be followed by a Maryland Court in this situation in view of the rule of construction which, as we have seen,*fn4 is followed in that state.

This construction of the contract is not "unnatural"*fn5 in view of the reservation by the insurer of the ability to terminate its liability for interest through payment of the amount of its obligation under any judgment into court and of its right*fn6 to control the conduct of the suit.*fn7

The judgment appealed from will be ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.