Globe Indemnity Co. v. Martin, 6 Div. 683

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtGARDNER, J.
Citation108 So. 761,214 Ala. 646
Docket Number6 Div. 683
Decision Date27 May 1926

108 So. 761

214 Ala. 646


6 Div. 683

Supreme Court of Alabama

May 27, 1926

Appeal from Circuit Court, Jefferson County; W.M. Walker, Judge.

Bill in equity by H. Clay Martin against the Globe Indemnity Company and Mrs. C.H. Gates. From a decree overruling demurrer to the bill, defendant insurance company appeals. Reversed and remanded.

London, Yancey & Brower and Frank Bainbridge, all of Birmingham, for appellant.

Ralph W. Quinn and William F. Spencer, both of Birmingham, for appellee.


This bill was filed by appellee against appellants Globe Indemnity Company and Mrs. C.H. Gates, seeking satisfaction of a judgment obtained by complainant against respondent Mrs. C.H. Gates. From a decree overruling demurrer to the bill, the Globe Indemnity Company has prosecuted this appeal.

The bill disclosed that on December 20, 1923, complainant sustained injuries by reason of being struck by an automobile belonging to respondent Mrs. C.H. Gates; that in October, 1924, complainant brought suit against Mrs. Gates to recover damages for such injuries, and in April, 1925, recovered a judgment therefor against her in the sum of $1,500, which judgment has not been satisfied; that at the time such injuries were received (December 20, 1923), the Globe Indemnity Company had in force and effect with Mrs. Gates a "contract of insurance *** indemnifying her against loss from liability imposed by law upon her on account of bodily injury, suffered by any person by reason of the ownership, maintenance, or use of her automobile." The bill does not make the insurance policy an exhibit thereto, nor are the provisions as to liability set out therein. The words above quoted from the bill are susceptible of the construction that the policy was one of indemnity (as distinguished from liability only) against actual pecuniary loss suffered by the insured, evidenced, by way of illustration in the instant case, by the payment of the judgment rendered.

Construing the bill most strongly against the pleader, we think the contract therein referred to is to be so interpreted and within the character of insurance policies considered in Goodman v. Georgia Life Ins. Co., 189 Ala. 130, 66 So. 649, and Hollings v. Brown, 202 Ala. 504, 80 So. 792.

In these cases the equity of a bill of the character here in question was denied, and it was held that the insurance contract imposed [108 So. 762] no obligation upon the company, "except for liabilities actually discharged by the payment of money." Speaking further to the argument as to the right of the injured party (a stranger to the contract), the court, in the Goodman Case, supra, said:

"Courts cannot tamper with and change the terms of contracts, nor can they substitute as beneficiaries thereunder unnamed and unintended strangers who have nothing whatever to do with either the contracts or the contractors."

Under these authorities it is therefore clear that the bill, as here construed, is without equity.

Evidently to meet the situation arising from the binding language of these insurance policies, as held in the above-cited authorities, sections 8376 and 8377 were embodied in and adopted as a part of the Code of 1923. These sections appear to be substantial reproductions of the statute of the state of Massachusetts as found set out in Lorando v. Gethro, 228 Mass. 181, 117 N.E. 185, 1 A.L.R. 1374, in original reference note 1.

Counsel for appellee lay stress upon section 8377, our Code, which treats of the remedy, but this section is to be construed in the light of its corollary, the preceding section, and the legislative intent evolved from a consideration of the entire subject-matter as embraced in the two sections, which read as follows:

"8376. Liability

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19 cases
  • Howard v. State, 8 Div. 464.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • January 26, 1933
    ...185, 94 So. 94; Folsom v. Carnley, 210 Ala. 131, 97 So. 95; Barrington's Case, 200 Ala. 315, 76 So. 81; Globe Indemnity Co. v. Martin, 214 Ala. 646, 108 So. 761), and, as such, had it a retroactive effect as to the issuance of bonds that may be received as payment? ( Board of Revenue of Jef......
  • Macey v. Crum, 3 Div. 463.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 29, 1947, we have adopted the interpretation accorded the statute by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Globe Indemnity Co. v. Martin, 214 Ala. 646, 108 So. 761; George v. Employers' Liability Assur. Corporation, supra; Continental Auto Ins. Underwriters v. Menuskin, 222 Ala. 370, 132 So.......
  • Boney v. Central Mut. Ins. Co. of Chicago, 457.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • May 4, 1938
    ...v. Cosgriff, 144 Md. 660, 125 A. 529; U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Williams, 148 Md. 289, 129 A. 660; Globe Indemnity Co. v. Martin, 214 Ala. 646, 108 So. 761; Raptis v. Fidelity Co., 109 W.Va. 602, 156 S.E. 53. See annotations in 83 A.L.R. 677. The appellee relies upon Lowe v. Fidelity ......
  • Hughes v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., 7 Div. 12.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • April 30, 1931
    ...upheld. Hollings v. Brown, 202 Ala. 504, 80 So. 792; Goodman v. Georgia Life Ins. Co., 189 Ala. 130, 66 So. 649; Globe Ind. Co. v. Martin, 214 Ala. 646, 108 So. 761; 59 A. L. R. 1125, 1126, note. The plaintiff has not sought to proceed in equity under sections 8376, 8377, of the Code, and, ......
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