Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, Civ. A. No. 68-289.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtNelson, Mullins, Grier & Scarborough, Columbia, S. C., for defendant
Citation308 F. Supp. 922
PartiesRobert GRAYSON, Plaintiff, v. AETNA INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
Decision Date23 January 1970
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 68-289.

308 F. Supp. 922

Robert GRAYSON, Plaintiff,
v.
AETNA INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

Civ. A. No. 68-289.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division.

January 23, 1970.


308 F. Supp. 923
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
308 F. Supp. 924
Sol Blatt, Jr., Blatt & Fales, Barnwell, S. C., for plaintiff

Nelson, Mullins, Grier & Scarborough, Columbia, S. C., for defendant.

ORDER

SIMONS, District Judge.

This action, which is a suit seeking the interpretation of a farm owner's liability insurance policy issued by defendant to one Grover Hutson, a farm owner and plaintiff's employer, was first before the court upon motions for summary judgment on behalf of plaintiff and defendant on the ground that there was no genuine issue as to any material fact.

The sole question before the court was the proper legal interpretation to be given the following exclusionary clause contained in said policy which provided as follows:

"`(d) under Coverage G, to bodily injury to any farm employee, arising out of and in the course of his employment by the Insured, and under Coverages G and H, to any person, including any residence employee or insured farm employee, (1) if the Insured has in effect on the date of the occurrence a policy providing workmen's compensation or occupational disease benefits therefor, or (2) if benefits therefor are in whole or in part either payable or required to be provided under any workmen's compensation or occupational disease law; but this subdivision (2) does not apply with respect to Coverage G unless such benefits are payable or required to be provided by the Insured * *'"

The admitted facts were that defendant's policy issued to one Grover Hutson was in full force and effect on the date when plaintiff, Robert Grayson, was injured while employed in the scope and course of his employment on Mr. Hutson's farm; that plaintiff brought suit in the state court against his employer resulting in a judgment in his favor in the amount of $25,000, which Defendant Aetna Insurance Company failed and refused to pay upon the ground that plaintiff's injury was excluded from the coverage of its policy issued to Mr. Hutson under the above exclusionary provision.

By its order dated November 1, 1968, this court denied both parties' motions for summary judgment upon the following basis:

"After having studied the contentions of the parties and having reviewed the authorities cited by them, the court concludes that the language and punctuation of the exclusionary clause gives rise to conflicting reasonable inferences that may be drawn as to the meaning thereof. Therefore, summary judgment is not the answer. The court will be in a much better position to determine the question at issue after a trial of the case on the merits rather than at this stage.
"Accordingly, both plaintiff's and defendant's motions for summary judgment are denied." Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, D.C., 291 F.Supp. 720 (1968).

Subsequent to the foregoing order, the case was placed on the trial calendar in the Aiken Division, and was set down for trial at the next non-jury term. The matter was then scheduled for pretrial conference preliminary to a trial on the merits. At such conference counsel for both parties stated that in their judgment a full evidentiary hearing was not necessary; that the sole issue to be determined was the proper legal construction of the foregoing exclusionary clause; that there was no genuine issue of fact to be decided; and that both parties therefore should be permitted to renew their motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff's counsel requested permission, which was granted, to submit affidavits in support of plaintiff's renewed motion for summary judgment. Defense counsel was also given the same permission but advised that, in view of defendant's position that such exclusionary clause was clear and unambiguous, he did not deem it proper for the court in determining the issue to consider any affidavits

308 F. Supp. 925
or other evidence outside of the policy provisions. Accordingly defendant rested its case on the premise that the only logical and reasonable interpretation of the exclusionary clause was that plaintiff's injury which admittedly occurred while engaged as a farm employee for defendant's insured, Mr. Hutson, in the course and scope of his employment was clearly excluded from coverage under the policy

Thereafter, in due course plaintiff, through his counsel, renewed his motion for summary judgment by formal written motion which was supported by affidavits of Dr. John Guilds, Head of the English Department of the University of South Carolina in Columbia and of plaintiff's employer, Grover Hutson, together with a "Stipulation of Facts" signed and consented to by counsel for plaintiff and defendant, copy of which is hereto appended and by reference made a part hereof.

Thus, the sole issue presently before the court is identical to that which the court dealt with in its former opinion in Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, supra, to wit: Whether plaintiff's personal injury which occurred while engaged as a farm employee of defendant's insured, Grover Hutson, in the course and scope of his employment was covered by defendant's policy; or whether such injury was excluded from coverage by virtue of the above quoted exclusionary clause.

Plaintiff's contentions are twofold. His first position is that he is entitled to summary judgment in his favor under recent controlling South Carolina Supreme Court decisions, since this court's original order concluded that the language and punctuation of the exclusionary clause give rise to conflicting, reasonable inferences as to the meaning thereof, one such reasonable inference being that plaintiff's injuries were not excluded from coverage of the policy by such clause; and that under the authority of Hann v. Carolina Casualty Ins. Co., S.C., 167 S.E.2d 420 (1969), this court must adopt that construction which will permit recovery by the plaintiff in the instant case. Secondly he asserts that the affidavits of Dr. John Guilds and Grover Hutson set forth the proper rules of grammar and punctuation interpretation applicable to those contained in the exclusionary clause, and show the circumstances under which the policy was purchased by plaintiff's employer from defendant's agent, which clearly require the conclusion that there is a patent ambiguity in defendant's exclusionary clause. He thus contends that such ambiguity must be resolved against the insurer and in favor of plaintiff's coverage by the policy. Plaintiff further asserts that a consideration of these affidavits does not violate the Parol Evidence Rule since the exclusionary clause has been found to...

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6 practice notes
  • North Carolina Elec. Membership Corp. v. White, No. 0:86-2911-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 21 d4 Setembro d4 1989
    ...809 F.2d 236, 239 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 935, 107 S.Ct. 1578, 94 L.Ed.2d 768 (1987), Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, 308 F.Supp. 922, 927 (D.S.C.1970), Bransted v. Wolke, 455 F.Supp. 489, 491 (E.D.Wis.1978), the court has nonetheless not relied on any of Klugh's assertions t......
  • Weeks & Irvine LLC v. Associated Indus. Ins. Co., No. 2:17-cv-02620-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 6 d1 Janeiro d1 2020
    ...one of which favors coverage, that construction which is most favorable to the insured must be adopted." Grayson v. Aetna Ins. Co., 308 F. Supp. 922, 926 (D.S.C. 1970) ; see also Pitts v. Glens Falls Indem. Co., 222 S.C. 133, 72 S.E.2d 174, 176 (1952) ("Where the words of a policy......
  • Marubeni America Corp. v. US, Slip Op. 96-24. Court No. 91-10-00730.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of International Trade
    • 23 d2 Janeiro d2 1996
    ...terms of the policy must be construed against the carrier and most liberally in favor of the insured, Grayson v. Aetna Ins. Co., 308 F.Supp. 922, 926-27 (D.S.C. 1970). Plaintiff insists that similarly where a tariff term is susceptible to varied reasonable interpretations, the court must re......
  • Harnden v. Continental Ins. Co., No. 11883
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 21 d3 Janeiro d3 1981
    ...that the third segment was not satisfied. The principal authority upon which plaintiffs rely is Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, 308 F.Supp. 922 (D.So.Car.1970). In Grayson, although a different insurer was involved, the exclusion was identical to exclusion (d) here. The injury of plaint......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • North Carolina Elec. Membership Corp. v. White, No. 0:86-2911-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 21 d4 Setembro d4 1989
    ...809 F.2d 236, 239 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 935, 107 S.Ct. 1578, 94 L.Ed.2d 768 (1987), Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, 308 F.Supp. 922, 927 (D.S.C.1970), Bransted v. Wolke, 455 F.Supp. 489, 491 (E.D.Wis.1978), the court has nonetheless not relied on any of Klugh's assertions t......
  • Weeks & Irvine LLC v. Associated Indus. Ins. Co., No. 2:17-cv-02620-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • 6 d1 Janeiro d1 2020
    ...one of which favors coverage, that construction which is most favorable to the insured must be adopted." Grayson v. Aetna Ins. Co., 308 F. Supp. 922, 926 (D.S.C. 1970) ; see also Pitts v. Glens Falls Indem. Co., 222 S.C. 133, 72 S.E.2d 174, 176 (1952) ("Where the words of a policy......
  • Marubeni America Corp. v. US, Slip Op. 96-24. Court No. 91-10-00730.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of International Trade
    • 23 d2 Janeiro d2 1996
    ...terms of the policy must be construed against the carrier and most liberally in favor of the insured, Grayson v. Aetna Ins. Co., 308 F.Supp. 922, 926-27 (D.S.C. 1970). Plaintiff insists that similarly where a tariff term is susceptible to varied reasonable interpretations, the court must re......
  • Harnden v. Continental Ins. Co., No. 11883
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 21 d3 Janeiro d3 1981
    ...that the third segment was not satisfied. The principal authority upon which plaintiffs rely is Grayson v. Aetna Insurance Company, 308 F.Supp. 922 (D.So.Car.1970). In Grayson, although a different insurer was involved, the exclusion was identical to exclusion (d) here. The injury of plaint......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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