47 A.2d 874 (N.H. 1946), 3595, Lumbermen's Mutual Casualty Company v. Blake

Docket Nº:3595
Citation:47 A.2d 874, 94 N.H. 141
Opinion Judge:MARBLE
Party Name:Lumbermen's Mutual Casualty Company v. Louis J. Blake & a
Attorney:Murchie & Murchie (Mr. Alexander Murchie orally), for the plaintiff. Sulloway, Piper, Jones, Hollis & Godfrey (Mr. Alvah W. Sulloway orally), for the defendants.
Case Date:June 27, 1946
Court:Supreme Court of New Hampshire

Page 874

47 A.2d 874 (N.H. 1946)

94 N.H. 141

Lumbermen's Mutual Casualty Company


Louis J. Blake & a

No. 3595

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

June 27, 1946


Failure to comply with a requirement in a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, that endorsements to be valid must be physically attached to the policy, will not defeat coverage of otherwise properly executed policy endorsements.

An insurance contract is deemed to have been completed by an application made through the insured's broker and issuance by the insurer of a policy purporting to be in accordance with the terms of the application.

Where the terms of an insurance contract require that the policy be countersigned before it becomes effective, the place of countersignature is generally considered the place of the last effective act and determines the controlling law.

[94 N.H. 142] The law of a foreign jurisdiction where a husband and wife are domiciled that they may not sue each other for a personal tort is no defense to an action by the wife against her husband in this state where the tort occurred and where the maintenance of such an action is permitted.

PETITION for a declaratory judgment to determine whether the provisions of a so-called fleet automobile liability policy require the plaintiff to assume the defense of an action brought against Louis J. Blake (hereinafter called the defendant) by his wife to recover for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the defendant's negligent operation of an automobile at Franklin on July 14, 1938.

The policy in question purports to insure certain employees of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey as owners and operators, for business or pleasure, of various automobiles. These owners and their automobiles are enumerated in a schedule attached to the policy. The defendant, though not named in the list of car owners, claims the benefit of the policy by virtue of an endorsement countersigned by the plaintiff's authorized representative on June 30, 1938, and mailed to the Standard Oil Company on July 20. The residence of the defendant is stated in the endorsement to be Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire.

Trial by the Court, whose findings of fact and rulings of law were substantially as follows:

"It appears without contradiction that the defendants, Mr. and Mrs. Blake, had arranged to borrow a friend's car for a proposed vacation trip to Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire. Mr. Blake, an employee of the Standard Oil Company, requested that company to procure an endorsement on its policy to cover both himself and Mrs. Blake on their journey. While driving through Franklin, New Hampshire, on July 14, 1938, a collision occurred with another car and Mrs. Blake received injuries, allegedly due to the negligence of Mr. Blake in the operation of the car. Suit was instituted in New Hampshire by Mrs. Blake against her husband seeking to recover damages for this alleged negligence. If judgment is recovered in that action, claim will be made against the plaintiff herein, for satisfaction thereof. The plaintiff denies coverage to Mr. Blake on account of any injuries sustained by his wife.

"In May, 1938, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, having an office in New York, applied through Alexander & Alexander, insurance brokers, for a policy of automobile liability insurance. The policy, which was issued by the plaintiff, purports to have been [94 N.H. 143] countersigned at Newark, New Jersey, on May 10, 1938, by W. B. Morrell, 'Authorized Representative.' Mr. Morrell by deposition denies this to be his signature and states that the policy was not issued from the plaintiff's New Jersey office, and what purports to be his signature was affixed in the New York office under a power of attorney executed by him many years ago.

"Later a request was received by Alexander & Alexander from the Standard Oil Company's insurance department to bind operator's coverage on behalf of the defendants, Louis J. Blake and Hilda S. Blake. Alexander & Alexander then telephoned the plaintiff's New York office requesting a binder and the issuance of the necessary endorsements to...

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