Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., No. 18784

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtLITTLEJOHN; MOSS
Citation161 S.E.2d 168,251 S.C. 165
Docket NumberNo. 18784
Decision Date29 April 1968
PartiesRalph REYNOLDS, Administrator of the Estate of Francis M. Arant, Respondent, v. WABASH LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant.

Page 168

161 S.E.2d 168
251 S.C. 165
Ralph REYNOLDS, Administrator of the Estate of Francis M.
Arant, Respondent,
v.
WABASH LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant.
No. 18784.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
April 29, 1968.

[251 S.C. 166]

Page 169

Lightsey & Bowers, Columbia, for appellant.

Herbert, Dial & Windham, Columbia, for respondent.

[251 S.C. 167] LITTLEJOHN, Justice:

Defendant issued its policy of hospital and surgical expense insurance to the plaintiff's intestate on September 11, 1964. On March 2, 1965, less than six months after its effective date, the insured died because of a ruptured abdominal aorta after one day of hospitalization.

This action was brought to enforce the policy. Defendant-insurer had refused to pay, alleging that because of the exceptions and limitations in the policy, no benefits were due and owing. The policy provides, under 'Exceptions and Limitations', that it does not cover 'hospitalization due to cardio-vascular disease, * * *, unless such cause occur after the policy has been maintained in continuous force for six (6) months from date of issue.'

The plaintiff maintains that the insured did not have 'cardio-vascular disease', but merely had vascular disease with no cardio disease whatever. The plaintiff thus maintains that the six months limitation does not bar recovery since the exception and limitation relate to cardio-vascular disease which must be present in combination. The policy makes no reference to disease of the cardiovascular system; the exact phrase used in the policy is 'cardio-vascular disease.'

The lower court found that the policy was in effect and found that the limitations did not apply. The first question which the insurer raises by this appeal is whether the lower court was correct in interpreting Cardio-vascular disease as though it were Cardio and vascular disease.

The plaintiff presented Dr. John R. Welsh of the faculty of the University of South Carolina who qualified as an expert in the field of English grammar. He testified that the hyphen is similar in effect to supplying the conjunction And and that the hyphen eliminates any suggestion of the conjunction Or. The hyphen between the two words, Cardio [251 S.C. 168] and Vascular, construed as And brings about the construction urged by the plaintiff.

There is abundant evidence from the surgeon who attended the insured prior to his death to warrant the conclusion that there was no cardio disease, and that the ruptured abdominal aneurysm was a vascular disease involving only the blood vessels.

There is also medical testimony of a practicing physician who testified that the term Cardio-vascular disease included an aortic aneurysm.

It becomes the duty of this court to construe the policy. In construing an insurance policy such as this, certain principles are well established. See Walker v. Commercial Casualty Insurance Co., 191 S.C. 187, 4 S.E.2d 248, where it is...

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23 practice notes
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). As the basis of its declaratory judgment claim, DRB argues that it is entitled to coverage under the terms of the Fr......
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). DRB argues that Cincinnati has a duty to defend DRB in the underlying lawsuit because DRB is entitled to coverage un......
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). As the basis of its declaratory judgment claim, DRB argues that it is entitled to coverage under the terms of the Pe......
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). As the basis of its declaratory judgment claim, DRB argues that it is entitled to coverage under the terms of the Se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). As the basis of its declaratory judgment claim, DRB argues that it is entitled to coverage under the terms of the Fr......
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). DRB argues that Cincinnati has a duty to defend DRB in the underlying lawsuit because DRB is entitled to coverage un......
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). As the basis of its declaratory judgment claim, DRB argues that it is entitled to coverage under the terms of the Pe......
  • Dan Ryan Builders W. Va., LLC v. Main St. Am. Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-DCN
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2020
    ...ambiguous or capable of two meanings" must be construed strictly against its drafter, the insurer. Reynolds v. Wabash Life Ins. Co., 251 S.C. 165, 161 S.E.2d 168, 169 (1968). As the basis of its declaratory judgment claim, DRB argues that it is entitled to coverage under the terms of the Se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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