Wednesday, December 11, 2013

C & J Fertilizer, Inc. v. Allied Mutual Insurance Co. case brief

C & J Fertilizer, Inc. v. Allied Mutual Insurance Co. case brief summary
227 N.W.2d 169 (1975)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff appealed an order of the Henry District Court (Iowa), which held that plaintiff had failed to establish burglary within the definitions of an insurance policy.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff operated a fertilizer plant that he insured against burglary under the policies issued by defendant. When the plant was broken into defendant refused to pay for the loss and plaintiff brought an action to recover for the loss. Defendant argued that the break in did not comport with the definition of "burglary" in the policy, which envisaged a violent breaking that left a visible mark or physical damage to the door. The lower court found on behalf of defendant.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, plaintiff claimed relief under the doctrine of reasonable expectations, implied warranty, and unconscionability. 
  • The court reversed the lower court's decision, holding that interpretation was a matter to be determined by the court and that the meaning of the word in the policy differed widely from its legal or normal meaning. 
  • The court held that plaintiff was entitled to a judgment in his favor because the provision of the policy was unconscionable and departed from the reasonable expectation of an ordinary person.


CONCLUSION
The court reversed the lower court's order that was rendered in favor of defendant because the provision of the policy did not comport with the reasonable expectation of a reasonable person, was unconscionable, and was a breach of an implied warranty.


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