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Feingold v. Norwich Union Indemnity Co.

Decided: February 26, 1937.

MAX FEINGOLD, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
NORWICH UNION INDEMNITY COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the First District Court of Jersey City.

For the defendant-appellant, Collins & Corbin (Edward A. Markley and John F. Leonard, of counsel).

For the plaintiff-respondent, Harry Cooper (Joseph M. Schoenberg, of counsel).

Before Justices Trenchard, Bodine and Heher.

Trenchard

The opinion of the court was delivered by

TRENCHARD, J. This appeal brings up for review a judgment entered upon a verdict of a jury directed by the trial judge in favor of the plaintiff-respondent (hereinafter called the plaintiff) and against the defendant-appellant (hereinafter called the defendant).

The plaintiff alleged that he held a contract of insurance wherein the defendant company agreed to indemnify the plaintiff for a stated period against loss and expenses resulting from claims against the plaintiff for damages on account of accidental injury within certain premises owned by the plaintiff; that within the period covered by the policy such an accident occurred on such premises resulting in a suit against the plaintiff (which the defendant refused to defend) and a judgment which the plaintiff was obliged to pay.

In such posture of affairs the plaintiff brought the present suit to recover such loss and expenses and the defendant answered, among other things, that the policy was canceled prior to the accident. At the trial the judge directed a verdict for the plaintiff on the theory that there was no evidence justifying the submission of the question of cancellation to the jury.

Now the policy contained (among others) this provision: "This policy may be canceled at any time by either of the parties upon written notice to the other party stating when thereafter cancellation shall be effective and the date of cancellation shall then be the end of the policy term. * * * If canceled by the company * * * written notice of the cancellation mailed to or otherwise delivered at the address of the assured as given herein shall be a sufficient notice * * *."

The address of the assured as given in the policy was 450 Grand street, Jersey City, New Jersey.

The policy was for a term beginning May 2d, 1931, and ending May 2d, 1932. The accident resulting in the loss claimed occurred January 31st, 1932. The defendant contended that it canceled the policy on July 22d, 1931. The plaintiff notified the defendant in June, 1933, that he had never received any notice of cancellation, and in effect denied its existence, and so testified at the present trial in 1936.

These facts have an important bearing upon the question as to the competency and effect of the secondary evidence as to notice of ...


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