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Goldberg v. Commercial Union Insurance Co.

Decided: January 31, 1963.

LOUIS GOLDBERG AND PHYLLIS GOLDBERG RUBIN, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
COMMERCIAL UNION INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, ALSO KNOWN AS COMMERCIAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, A FOREIGN CORPORATION AUTHORIZED TO DO BUSINESS IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Goldmann, Freund and Foley. The opinion of the court was delivered by Foley, J.A.D.

Foley

Defendant appeals from summary judgments in favor of plaintiffs entered in the Law Division. No counter-motion for summary judgment was made by defendant.

On November 2, 1957 defendant issued to Louis Goldberg, residing at 962 Arlington Avenue, Plainfield, N.J., an insurance policy designated "Jewelry-Fur Floater Policy -- World Wide." The pertinent parts of the insuring clause of the policy provided that the company insured Goldberg for a specified amount "* * * on jewelry * * * being property of the assured and members of his * * * family of the same domicile, against all risks of loss or damage * * * whilst in all situations." There followed a description and valuation of the several items of jewelry which in total conformed with the specified amount of insurance extended. The description included the following:

"4. One 14K yellow gold scarab bracelet containing seven

scarabs $40.00

5. One 14K yellow gold charm bracelet containing

eleven charms 200.00

6. One 14K yellow gold ring containing six rubies and

five diamonds 150.00."

These articles were the property of Phyllis Goldberg, daughter of the assured, who at the time the policy was issued was unmarried, and resided with her father.

On March 26, 1960 Phyllis married, and thereafter, according to her own affidavit, was domiciled with her husband at 1022 Rose Street, Plainfield, N.J. On November 10, 1959 her husband, Leonard Rubin, purchased a pear-shaped diamond engagement ring for $2,300. Insurance under the Goldberg policy was applied for and, at the request of defendant, an appraisal of the ring was made. The appraisal was forwarded to the defendant and, upon the basis of it, the ring was insured under Goldberg's policy, by rider. Some time in March 1960, Rubin purchased from a client for $250 a gold hand-carved bracelet which he presented to his wife. Again insurance was requested and the bracelet was appraised at the request of defendant. Subsequently, by rider, it was included in Goldberg's policy as an insured item. The two riders are not before us; they have been lost. However, counsel agree that they did not vary the terms of the main policy, except that the amount of coverage was increased so as to include the value of the two new items.

On May 26, 1960 the Rubins' domicile was burglarized. Among the articles stolen therefrom were the two pieces of jewelry covered by the riders, items No. 4 and No. 6 described in the original policy, as above set forth, and a $5.00 gold piece in a gold frame valued at $12, together with a "mad money" charm worth $35, both of which were on the charm bracelet described in item No. 5. Mrs. Rubin immediately reported the loss to the Richards Agency, operated by Julius and Ida Richards, which had issued the original policy and the riders, as agent of defendant.

Defendant declined to pay the loss, and plaintiffs instituted the present action. Plaintiffs' original complaint alleges ownership of the jewelry by Mrs. Rubin, the theft, and compliance with all pertinent provisions of the policy. Defendant denied liability upon the ground that "plaintiff is ...


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