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Steiker v. Philadelphia National Insurance Co.

Decided: December 6, 1950.

SYDNEY G. STEIKER, ET AL., PLAINTIFF,
v.
PHILADELPHIA NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT



MacLeod, J.c.c.

This matter comes before the court, pursuant to Rule 3:38-1, waiving a jury trial, and stipulation of submission concerning the facts, and a determination of the law as it applies to those facts.

This is a suit to recover damages as the result of a fire loss, occurring on October 27, 1948, sustained by the plaintiffs under two contracts of insurance numbered A-161 and A-162 issued by the defendant.

It is admitted that on October 27, 1948, a fire occurred at 75 River Street, Paterson, New Jersey, and personal property owned by the plaintiffs was destroyed and damaged. It is also admitted that there was in force and effect at the time of said fire two policies of insurance issued by the defendant and that if the plaintiffs are entitled to recover, the verdict should be $25,000 with interest from December 27, 1948.

It is further agreed that the depositions of plaintiffs and witnesses and answers to interrogatories given by the plaintiffs to questions propounded by defendant are to be considered as evidence in this case, where relevant.

The defendant contends that from the facts submitted there was no coverage for this loss, pursuant to the terms of the two contracts of insurance. It charges that the policies do not cover:

"2. (a) Automobiles while in any building or premises occupied by the insured as a factory or assembly plant and * * *

"10. Except where specifically stated to the contrary, the word 'automobile' wherever used in this policy shall mean the motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer described in this policy. The word 'automobile' shall also include its equipment and other equipment permanently attached thereto , * * *."

The defendant argues that the insured premises at the time of the fire was an assembly plant, and further states that the chattels damaged or destroyed were not automobiles, its equipment and other equipment permanently attached thereto.

In determining the first point raised, my examination of the proof submitted pursuant to the stipulation, reveals that the plaintiffs carry on a very extensive business, dealing in pleasure cars, motor trucks and auto truck equipment, covering many locations in Paterson and the immediate area. The insured premises (75 River Street, Paterson, New Jersey) was used for mounting truck bodies, storage, display of motorcycles and truck equipment with woodworking machinery located in the rear. Other buildings owned by the plaintiffs, which adjoined the insured premises involved in this suit, were used generally for storage and display of trailers, trucks, truck equipment, general offices, garage and service station for body and fender work.

The policies in question cover many locations owned by the plaintiffs and the loss liability of the defendant is limited to specific amounts at each location.

The evidence also shows that the plaintiffs purchased new and used motor trucks chassis, which were stored in different locations owned by the plaintiffs. At the same time or immediately thereafter, prefabricated wooden and metal bodies, ...


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