Appeal, No. 191, March T., 1952, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1949, No. 2208, in case of Alma Schuchman v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Judgment reversed.
Ralph S. Davis, Jr., with him Evans, Ivory & Evans, for appellant.
D. C. Jennings, for appellee.
Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO
On January 26, 1936, Henry H. W. Schuchman contracted with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for an insurance policy which provided for the payment of $5,000 to a designated beneficiary (the plaintiff in this case) in the event of death resulting from accident-induced injuries, in the event the injuries from the date of the accident, "wholly and continuously disable and prevent the insured from performing any and every kind of duty pertaining to his occupation."
Henry Schuchman was injured on November 25, 1947, and died on February 28, 1948. The insurance company denied liability, conceding that the assured was wholly disabled from November 25, 1947 to December 8, 1947, but only partially disabled from December 8, 1947 to February 16, 1948.
At the termination of the plaintiff's proof in the action of assumpsit which followed the refusal of the insurance company to pay the face value of the policy, the learned Trial Judge entered a compulsory non-suit. From the refusal of the lower court to remove the non-suit, the plaintiff has taken this appeal.
The insured, who was in the general real estate and insurance brokerage business, was bedfast for two weeks following the accident and then visited his office for an hour or two each day to open mail and sign an occasional policy. Prior to the accident he was busy from 8 a.m. to late afternoon every day and often he worked in the evening as well. His work embraced activities such as listing properties for sale, posting signs, calling on customers for real estate and insurance sales, taking prospective purchasers out to view properties, writing policies, collecting rent, operating his own automobile and doing such other miscellaneous duties necessarily connected with his business. The accident of November 25, 1947, struck these multifarious duties out of his life and he was never able to repossess them. His secretary testified that for the limited time each day that he visited the office following the accident, he used an ice cap to relieve pain and often she discovered him crying and exhibiting mental confusion as to what he was signing.
Dr. Frederick A. Parsons, his physician, testified at the trial that following the accident "it was impossible for him [Schuchman] to do any physical work at all." It was the doctor's opinion that the insured's death was the result of the accident. Further, that he knew of no intervening cause. Also, that prior to the accident, Schuchman's health was good, except for low blood pressure which had no influence on the cause of death.
On February 21, 1948, Schuchman filed with the insurance company a statement of claim in which he stated that he was totally disabled from November 25, 1947 to December 8, 1947, and partially disabled from the latter date to February 16, 1948. Dr. Parsons had on December 24, 1947, executed a physician's ...