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Prather v. American Motorists Insurance Co.

Decided: June 30, 1949.

MARGUERITE PRATHER, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF GRAHAM P. PRATHER, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
AMERICAN MOTORISTS INSURANCE COMPANY AND AMERICAN MOTORISTS FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division.

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling and Ackerson. For reversal -- Justice Case. The opinion of the court was delivered by Burling, J. Case, J. (Dissenting.)

Burling

[2 NJ Page 498] A judgment was entered in favor of the defendants-respondents in an action tried in the Bergen County Court, without a jury by consent of the parties. The plaintiff appealed the judgment to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. We then certified the cause on our own motion, pursuant to Rule 1:5-1, to aid in the completion of the Appellate list before the summer recess. The objective of this civil action is to recover from the defendants under alleged contracts of insurance damages less $50 sustained by

the appellant's decedent resulting from a collision of his automobile. As a result of a pre-trial conference issues were reduced to a construction of the alleged contracts of insurance as to coverage. Such construction is to ascertain the intention of the parties as expressed in the writing. No extrinsic evidence was offered.

On April 1, 1946, both defendants entered into a contract of insurance with Graham P. Prather, appellant's decedent. This contract related to a Lincoln automobile 1941 model sedan owned by Prather. Seven types of coverages and the premium charged therefor were referred to in the policy as follows:

Amer. Amer.

Limits of Fire Premium

Coverages Liability Premium

A-Bodily Injury Liability $10,000 Each

Person, $20,000

Each Accident X X X X $21.85

B-Property Damage Liability $5000 each accident X X X X 8.00

C-Collision or upset Actual Cash Value $Nil $Less $nil deduct-

ible

D-Medical Payments (Named

Insured included insert

"included" or "excluded") $500 each Person X X X X $4.00

E-Comprehensive (Excluding

Collision) Actual Value $6.00 X X X X

F-Fire, Lightning & Transpor-

tation Covered under E $Nil ...


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