Friday, December 27, 2013

Columbia Horse & Mule Commission Co. v. American Ins. Co. case brief

Columbia Horse & Mule Commission Co. v. American Ins. Co. case brief summary
173 F.2d 773 (1949)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff appealed decision of the United States District Court dismissing his action to recover the value of mules destroyed in a fire because plaintiff's proof of loss and affidavit constituted willful and material misrepresentation in violation of his insurance policy.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff sought to recover the value of 43 mules destroyed in a fire under an insurance policy. A jury found that 34 mules were destroyed, not 43. The court dismissed plaintiff's complaint after determining that plaintiff's affidavit constituted willful and material misrepresentation in violation of its insurance policy. Plaintiff appealed contending that the court erred in failing to submit to the jury the question regarding whether plaintiff's sworn statement was willfully false and fraudulent and deciding as a matter of law that a false statement in the affidavit voided the policy.

DISCUSSION

  • The appeals court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint because the issue regarding whether plaintiff's representation as to the number of mules lost was willfully or innocently false was omitted from the special issues submitted to the jury, thus under Fed. R. Civ. P. 49(a), each party waived the right to a jury trial upon that issue.
CONCLUSION
Dismissal affirmed because the issue as to whether plaintiff's false statement regarding the loss of mules constituted a willful and fraudulent misrepresentation was omitted from the special issues submitted to the jury, thus each party waived the right to a jury trial regarding that issue.


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