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Central Radiator Co. v. Niagara Fire Insurance Co.

Decided: May 16, 1932.

CENTRAL RADIATOR COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
NIAGARA FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL., RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the Supreme Court.

For the appellant, Isidor Kalisch.

For the respondents, Arthur T. Vanderbilt (Horace M. Schell, of the Pennsylvania bar, and David Stoffer, on the brief).

Parker

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PARKER, J. Suits against fifteen separate insurance companies based on a loss due to a fire which occurred at Landsdale, Pennsylvania, were consolidated for trial, and at such trial the plaintiff was nonsuited. The appeal is from that judgment, and the grounds of appeal are only two in number: (1) the award of the nonsuit; (2) the exclusion of three questions asked of plaintiff's witness Rohlffs. The only real question is the proper construction of the language of the policies specifying what property was, and what was not, covered thereby. The questions overruled bore on this matter, and will be considered in due course.

The plaintiff's property consisted of a number of factory buildings and their contents, constituting a plant appropriate to plaintiff's business indicated by its name. The subject-matter in suit relates to one building called "the old blacksmith shop" and certain patterns and other property stored therein at the time of the fire. This building and its contents were destroyed, but the companies refused to pay the claim on the ground that neither the old blacksmith shop nor any personal property while contained therein was covered by the policies. The trial judge so held, and nonsuited accordingly.

The coverage provisions of the policies are for the most part contained in the "rider" usually attached in such cases. The language of this rider, so far as material, is as follows:

"On machine shop, main foundry, pattern shop and pattern storage building, engine and boiler room, core room, office, blacksmith shop, and on machinery and equipment in machine shop, main foundry, engine and boiler room and office and on supplies in machine shop and office building and on patterns in main foundry and pattern shop and pattern storage building and on lumber in pattern shop and pattern storage building situate at Lansdale, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.

"This policy covers on the buildings, improvements and structures together with all tangible and/or destructible property moveable and/or immovable, including all articles

VOL. CIX.

mentioned in lines 10 and 11 of the Pennsylvania Standard policy the property of the assured or sold but not removed; also on assured's interest in and on assured's legal liability for similar property held by assured as follows: in trust or on commission or on joint account with others or on storage or for repairs.

"It is understood and agreed that this form excludes coverage on fireproof storage vault and patterns contained therein (and all raw ...


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