287 S.W. 346 (Mo. 1926), 27006, Landau v. Travelers Insurance Company

Docket Nº:27006
Citation:287 S.W. 346, 315 Mo. 760
Opinion Judge:BLAIR
Party Name:Amelia C. Landau, Appellant, v. Travelers Insurance Company
Attorney:Joseph C. McAtee, Don Stevens and Abbott, Fauntleroy, Cullen & Edwards for appellant. Jones, Hocker, Sullivan & Angert for respondent.
Judge Panel:Blair, C. J. All concur, except Graves, J., absent.
Case Date:October 08, 1926
Court:Supreme Court of Missouri

Page 346

287 S.W. 346 (Mo. 1926)

315 Mo. 760

Amelia C. Landau, Appellant,


Travelers Insurance Company

No. 27006

Supreme Court of Missouri

October 8, 1926

Appeal from St. Louis County Circuit Court; Hon. John W. McElhinney, Judge.


Joseph C. McAtee, Don Stevens and Abbott, Fauntleroy, Cullen & Edwards for appellant.

(1) The evidence is ample to establish clearly that the death of Rich was caused by accident. Travelers' Ins. Co. v. Randolph, 78 F. 757; Smith v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 56 L. R. A. 273; Marx v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 39 F. 321; Hunt v. United States Acc. Assn., 117 Am. St. 656; Jones v. United States Mut. Acc. Assn., 61 S.W. 490; 14 R. C. L. secs. 435, 436, p. 1256; 1 C. J. secs. 111 to 123, pp. 444 to 450; 40 L. R. A. 432, note; 10 L. R. A. (N. S.) 957, note; 40 L. R. A. (N. S.) 135; 139 A. S. R. 699, note. (2) The policy promises to pay single damages if the insured shall meet death while being on the step of any railway or street railway car, and, therefore, being on such step is insufficient to establish the defense of a voluntary exposure, and the court erred in not so instructing the jury and in giving instructions which permitted the jury to find that being on the steps constituted such defense. Travelers' Ins. Co. v. Randolph, 78 F. 765; 1 C. J. sec. 121, p. 450; Dailey v. Masonic Mutual Acc. Assn., 26 L. R. A. 171; Wilson v. Northwestern Mut. Acc. Assn., 55 N.W. 628; Pacific Mut. L. Ins. Co. v. Snowden, 58 F. 342; 1 C. J. p. 436; Jamison v. Continental Cas. Co., 104 Mo.App. 306; International Travelers' Assn. v. Votaw, 197 S.W. 237; Bakalars v. Continental Cas. Co., 141 Wis. 43, 25 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1241, 18 Ann. Cas. 1123; Trow v. Ins. Co., 67 A. 821; Standard Ins. Co. v. Schmaltz, 66 Ark. 588, 53 S.W. 49, 74 Am. St. 112. (3) Defendant's instructions are in irreconcilable conflict, in this: The jury are advised that the facts establishing accident are sufficient to support a defense under the voluntary exposure clause, and also directs the jury that the same facts do not authorize a verdict for plaintiff though they establish accident. Spillane v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 111 Mo. 565; Hickman v. Link, 116 Mo. 128. (4) While one is voluntarily doing an act, if he unexpectedly falls, the result is an accident, and the instructions are in conflict with this principle. Rowe v. United Comm. Travelers, 4 A. L. R. 1240; Richards v. Ins. Co., 17 A. L. R. 1184; Lickleider v. Traveling Men's Assn., 3 A. L. R. 1300; Western Comm. Travelers' Assn. v. Smither, 40 L. R. A. 653, 85 F. 401; Jones v. United States Mut. Acc. Assn., 61 N.W. 490. (5) Defendant's instructions are erroneous because they confuse voluntary act with voluntary exposure, fail to require the jury to find that the danger was threatening, or the probable and natural consequences of the act of deceased. Smith v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 56 L. R. A. 274; De Loy v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 50 Am. St. 789; Burkhard v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 102 Pa. St. 262, 48 Am. Rep. 205; People v. Rose, 47 N.E. 547; Fuller on Accident and Employers' Liability Insurance, p. 233; Collins v. Ins. Co., 96 Iowa 216, 64 N.W. 778, 59 Am. St. 367; Travelers Ins. Co. v. Clark, 59 S.W. 7. (6) Whether deceased's activities were or were not "necessary" constitutes no element of voluntary exposure, and the instructions for defendant singling out repeatedly in instructions for defendant that the jury should consider whether it was "necessary" for deceased to change his seat or "necessary" for him to go upon the steps are erroneous. Continental Cas. Co. v. Whitmore, 137 N.E. 567; 1 C. J. 447; Fidelity & Cas. Co. v. Sittig, 181 Ill. 111; Da Rin v. Casualty Co., 41 Mont. 175, 27 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1164; Williams v. U.S. Mut. Acc. Assn., 14 N.Y.S. 731; Tucker v. Ins. Co., 4 N.Y.S. 505, 121 N.Y. 718; Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Adams, 112 P. 1030; Campbell v. Fidelity & Cas. Co., 60 S.W. 495, 109 Ky. 661; Travelers' Ins. Co. v. Randolph, 78 F. 762; United States Mut. Acc. Assn. v. Hubbell, 56 Ohio St. 516, 40 L. R. A. 453; Lehman v. Indemnity Co., 39 N.Y.S. 912, 7 A.D. 424; Miller v. American Mut. Acc. Ins. Co., 92 Tenn. 167, 20 L. R. A. 765; Keene v. New England Mut. Acc. Assn., 161 Mass. 149; Williams v. United States Mut. Acc. Assn., 82 Hun, 269, 31 N.Y.S. 343, 133 N.Y. 367. (7) The instructions for defendant make ordinary care instead of wilfulness or wantonness the test of voluntary exposure, hence erroneous. Continental Cas. Co. v. Whitmore, 137 N.E. 576; Dillon v. Casualty Co., 130 Mo.App. 507; Bateman v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 110 Mo.App. 443; O'Mellia v. Ry. Co., 115 Mo. 212, Swadley v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 118 Mo. 278; Travelers' Ins. Co. v. Harris, 178 S.W. 819; Sutherland v. Standard Ins. Co., 54 N.W. 455; Christensen v. National Travelers' Ben. Assn., 194 N.W. 194; Smith v. Erie Ry. Co., 67 N. J. L. 644, 59 L. R. A. 302. (8) Instructions 9, 10 and 11 are fatally defective in failing to require the jury to find that the voluntary act of deceased in being on the steps contributed in whole or in part to his death, and Instruction 5 is erroneous because it assumes that said act did contribute. 1 C. J. sec. 122, p. 450; Fuller on Accident Ins., pp. 241, 242; Aetna v. Hicks, 56 S.W. 87; Saxton v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 98 Mo.App. 501; Fetter v. Fidelity & Cas. Co., 174 Mo. 256, 61 L. R. A. 459, 97 Am. St. 560; Driskell v. Ins. Co., 117 Mo.App. 368; Bankers' Health & Accident Assn. v. Wilkes, 209 S.W. 235; Hunt v. United States Accident Assn., 146 Mich. 521, 7 L. R. A. (N. S.) 938, 117 Am. St. 655, 10 Ann. Cas. 449. (9) The burden was erroneously placed on plaintiff to negative and to overcome the defense of voluntary exposure. Meadows v. Life Ins. Co., 129 Mo. 129; Farmers Elevator Co. v. Hines, 294 Mo. 639; Egg Co. v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 257 S.W. 481; Diehl v. Green Fire Brick Co., 299 Mo. 659. (10) The court erred in excluding exclamations of the bystanders made at the time deceased fell off the car that a man fell off, and erred in refusing to permit eyewitnesses to testify that the injured man did not "jump" but "fell" from the car. 11 Encyclopedia of Evidence, p. 318; Clark v. State, 120 S.W. 181; Shotwell v. Commonwealth, 68 S.W. 404; Fuller v. State, 48 S.W. 183; State v. Foley, 36 So. 885; State v. Kaiser, 124 Mo. 651; State v. Walker, 78 Mo. 380; May v. Ry. Co., 284 Mo. 529; Eyerman v. Sheehan, 52 Mo. 221; Kerchof v. Ry. Co., 155 Mo.App. 70; Musick v. United Rys. Co., 155 Mo.App. 64; Yahn v. City of Ottumwa, 60 Iowa 429.

Jones, Hocker, Sullivan & Angert for respondent.

(1) The facts in this case bring it within the exception of the policy that it shall not cover injuries resulting from voluntary exposure to unnecessary danger. Meadows v. Ins. Co., 129 Mo. 89; Overbeck v. Travelers' Ins. Co., 94 Mo.App. 453; Bean v. Assurance Co., 50 Mo.App. 459; Alter v. Union Cas. Co., 108 Mo.App. 169; Jamieson v. Casualty Co., 104 Mo.App. 313; Dillon v. Casualty Co., 130 Mo.App. 507; Williams v. Accident Assn., 133 N.Y. 369; Glass v. Masonic Accident Assn., 112 F. 495; Archibald v. Commercial Travelers, 104 A. 792; Garcelon v. Commercial Travelers, 81 N.E. 201; Small v. Travelers Protective Assn., 45 S.E. 706; Rebman v. Ins. Co., 66 A. 859; Diddle v. Continental Cas. Co., 63 S.E. 963; Rommel v. Travelers Benefit Assn., 166 N.W. 457; Osgood v. Accident Co., Anno. Cases, 1913 C, 426. (2) The voluntary-exposure clause of policy is not emasculated by the proviso to Clause B (double indemnity benefit) of policy that any accident sustained while getting on or off or being upon the steps of a street car shall be covered for simple indemnity. Ins. Co. v. Electric Light Co., 184 Mo.App. 722; Mossap v. Casualty Co., 137 Mo.App. 402; 32 C. J. p. 1158; 1 C. J. p. 416. Appellant is estopped from so asserting because the case was tried on the theory that the voluntary-exposure clause applied. Allen West Comm. Co. v. Richter, 286 Mo. 691; National Board v. Fry, 293 Mo. 399; Wilson v. Brotherhood Am. Yeomen, 297 Mo. 655; Findlay-Kehl Inv. Co. v. O'Connor, 256 S.W. 798; Brunswick v. Standard Acc. Ins. Co., 278 Mo. 154; Shapiro v. American Surety Co., 259 S.W. 502. (3) The insuring clause of the policy is not in conflict with the voluntary-exposure clause. (4) The test of voluntary exposure was properly defined in the instruction. Alter v. Union Cas. Co., 108 Mo.App. 169; Carrell v. Ins. Co., 139 Iowa 36; Follis v. Union Cas. Co., 94 Iowa 435; De Lay v. Travelers Ins. Co., 171 Pa. 1; Garcelon v. Commercial Travelers, 195 Mass. 531; Travelers Ins. Co. v. Jones, 80 Ga. 541; Rebman v. Accident Ins. Co., 66 A. 859. Appellant is estopped from asserting that the test of voluntary exposure was improperly defined in defendant's instructions because appellant requested and was given an instruction laying down the same test of voluntary exposure as defined in defendant's instructions. Simpson v. Wells, 292 Mo. 301; Varley v. Columbia Taxicab Co., 240 S.W. 218; Ehrlich v. Mittleberg, 299 Mo. 284; Lowry v. Columbia Cemetery Assn., 189 S.W. 1162; Shapiro v. American Surety Co., 259 S.W. 502; Vogelsang v. Board of Education, 231 S.W. 645; Johnson v. Kansas City Light Co., 232 S.W. 1094. There was no error in the exclusion of the testimony complained of. State v. Brown, 64 Mo. 371; State v. Sneed, 88 Mo. 141; Leahey v. Fair Grounds Co., 97 Mo. 173; Kansas City v. Boruff, 243 S.W. 167; Fane v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 251 Mo. 13; Melican v. Whitlow Const. Co., 278 S.W. 361; Johaness v. Brecht Co., 274 S.W. 377; Gricus v. United Rys. Co., 291 Mo. 582; Marshall v. Taylor, 168 Mo.App. 240; Gray v. Elevated Ry. Co.,...

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