Clark v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co.

Decision Date20 December 1960
Citation148 Conn. 15,166 A.2d 713
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesSidney E. CLARK et al. v. HARTFORD ACCIDENT AND INDEMNITY COMPANY. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Maurice J. Buckley, Stamford, for appellant (defendant).

John Keogh, Jr., Norwalk, for appellees (plaintiffs).

Before BALDWIN, C. J., and MURPHY, MELLITZ, SHEA and HEALEY *, JJ.

SHEA, Associate Justice.

The plaintiffs obtained a judgment in the Superior Court in Fairfield County against Walter A. Shaw as a result of an automobile collision which occurred in Stamford on August 2, 1952, when a car driven by Shaw and owned by his mother struck a car in which the plaintiffs were riding. Shaw's mother was insured by the present defendant under a policy of automobile liability insurance written in Massachusetts, where she resided. The plaintiffs brought the instant action to recover from the defendant the amount of their judgment. The trial court rendered judgment for the plaintiffs, and the defendant has appealed.

The finding, which is not subject to any material correction, recites the following facts: On July 31, 1952, Shaw lived in Wales, Massachusetts, in a house owned by his mother. She was the owner of an automobile registered in Massachusetts. He wanted to obtain permission from her to use the car on the following week end. His license to operate a motor vehicle had been under suspension since 1946, and his mother was aware of that fact. On July 31, 1952, he was driven by George Marriott in the latter's car to Monson, Massachusetts, where Mrs. Shaw lived and was employed. Shaw and Marriott were accompanied by Dick Booth and his girl friend. Upon arriving at Monson, Shaw told his mother that he would like to go on a fishing trip to Vermont. He asked her for permission to use her car on the week end. She granted his request on the understanding that a licensed operator would drive the car. She did not limit Shaw's use of the car to any particular place. Booth drove Shaw back to Wales, where he left the car with Shaw at the latter's home. On the following evening, Shaw drove the car to Marriott's house and picked Marriott up. Shaw then drove around for a time. Later, Marriott took the wheel. Finally, the two men went to New York City, with Shaw driving. On the following evening, August 2, on their way home from New York, the car was involved in the accident with the plaintiffs on the Merritt Parkway in Stamford. Shaw was driving at the time.

The court concluded that Shaw was an insured person under the terms of the policy issued by the defendant to Mrs. Shaw. Judgment was rendered for the plaintiffs. The defendant contends that the conclusions reached by the trial court are unsupported by the facts found and that Shaw was not a person responsible for the operation of the motor vehicle with the express or implied consent of the owner, within the meaning of the policy. The defendant also claims that even though Shaw was in control, and had custody, of the car and was responsible for its operation, he had materially deviated from the authority granted to him and his conduct in operating the car was in direct disobedience of the owner's orders.

Coverage under the policy was extended to afford protection to the insured outside of, as well as within, the state of Massachusetts. Under the terms of the policy, the word 'insured' includes 'any * * * person responsible for the operation of the motor vehicle with the express or implied consent of the Named Insured.' The parties agree that the construction and the effect of the policy are to be determined by the law of Massachusetts. See Cain v. American Policyholders'Ins. Co., 120 Conn. 645, 648, 183 A. 403; New York Life Ins. Co. v. Rigas, 117 Conn. 437, 440, 168 A. 22, 91 A.L.R. 1122. The law of Massachusetts requires the owner, as a condition of valid registration of a motor vehicle, to furnish indemnity to persons who may be injured by it. Mass.Gen.Laws c. 90, §§ 1A, 34A (1932); Guzenfield v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 286 Mass. 133, 135, 190 N.E. 23. One method of furnishing the required indemnity is by taking out a policy of insurance providing 'indemnity for or protection to the insured and any person responsible for the operation of the insured's motor vehicle with his express or implied consent against loss by reason of the liability to pay damages to others * * * arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance, control or use * * * of such motor vehicle.' Mass.Gen.Laws c. 90, § 34A (1932); Guzenfield v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., supra. The policy must contain provisions that liability shall become absolute whenever the loss or damage for which the insured is responsible occurs, as respects 'both the owner of a motor vehicle * * * insured thereunder and any person responsible for its operation with the express or implied consent of such owner.' Mass.Gen.Laws c. 175, §§ 112, 113A(1) (1932). 'Such a policy makes as its assured not only the owner but also 'any person responsible for the operation of the insured's [owner's] motor vehicle with his express or implied consent'.' Guzenfield v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., supra.

The policy issued by the defendant to Mrs. Shaw provided the coverage required by the Massachusetts law. The purpose of the Massachusetts legislature in enacting the compulsory insurance law was to furnish to persons injured, through the use by others of motor vehicles upon...

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3 cases
  • Wiglesworth v. Farmers Ins. Exchange
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • May 28, 1996
    ...165 (7th Cir.1958); Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 294 Ark. 444, 745 S.W.2d 589, 594 (1988); Clark v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 148 Conn. 15, 166 A.2d 713, 715-16 (1960); Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. of Idaho v. Hmelevsky, 97 Idaho 46, 539 P.2d 598, 602 (1975); Harry W. Kuhn, Inc.......
  • Stonington Ins. Co. v. Mcwilliams
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    ...under the statute. See, e.g., Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 745 S.W.2d 589, 594 (Ark. 1988); Clark v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 166 A.2d 713, 715-16 (Conn. 1960); Mitchell v. Allstate Ins. Co., 244 S.W.3d 59, 65 (Ky. 2008); Horace Mann Ins. v. Hampton, 767 P.2d 343, 345-46 (Mo......
  • Commercial Contractors Corp. v. American Ins. Co.
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    ...court that the laws of that state should govern the determination of Commercial's rights under the policy. Clark v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., 148 Conn. 15, 17, 166 A.2d 713; Cain v. American Policyholders' Ins. Co., 120 Conn. 645, 648, 183 A. 403; see also Nobile v. Travelers Indem......

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