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CLELAND SIMPSON COMPANY v. FIREMEN'S INSURANCE COMPANY. (03/26/58)

March 26, 1958

CLELAND SIMPSON COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
FIREMEN'S INSURANCE COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 7, Jan. T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, April T., 1956, No. 796, in case of Cleland Simpson Company v. Firemen's Insurance Company of Newark, N.J. et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

C. H. Welles, 3rd, with him Welles & Mackie, for appellant.

Thomas Raeburn White, Jr., with him John W. Bour, Thomas Raeburn White, O'Malley, Morgan, Bour & Gallagher, and White, Williams & Scott, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

[ 392 Pa. Page 69]

OPINION PER CURIAM

The judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County is affirmed on the opinion of Judge HOBAN, reported in 11 Pa.D. & C.2d 607.

ING OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO:

In August, 1955, Diane, a hurricane which belied the gentle characteristics ordinarily associated with so docile a name, struck savagely throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, wreaking a havoc of devastating proportions. The City of Scranton, which lay in the direct path of the cyclonic storm, bent under the full fury of Diane's violence and ferocity. The able and veteran Mayor of Scranton, James T. Hanlon, proclaimed a state of emergency and ordered all stores in the city to close their doors because of serious fire danger. The Cleland Simpson Company, plaintiff in this case, obeyed the order and for three days ceased business operations, with consequent heavy money losses. It endeavored to recoup these losses by turning to its fire insurance policy, a provision of which reads: "Interruption by civil authority: Liability under this policy is extended to include actual loss as covered

[ 392 Pa. Page 70]

    hereunder sustained during the period of time, not exceeding two weeks, when as a direct result of a peril insured against access to the premises described is prohibited by order of civil authority."

When the insurance company refused to make any payment under this provision of the policy, the plaintiff brought an action in assumpsit, to which the defendant company answered with preliminary objections. The Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County entered judgment for the defendant, and the plaintiff has appealed.

In this appeal we are not concerned with any complicated question of law. The State Reports, the text books, and digests may rest undisturbed on their shelves during consideration of the positions taken by the plaintiff and the defendant. All that is needed in disposing of this case is a dictionary. And we would not even dust off that worthy tome except for the fact that a judicial opinion is not generally considered complete unless reference is made therein to some other judge, author, or compiler of words. No matter how simple and self-convincing a statement may be in an opinion, whether it be a majority or dissenting opinion, the author must show that he is not original, because originality carries scant authority in law. We will quote from Noah Webster later.

The Majority of this Court has accepted the lower court's opinion as its own so that I will, therefore, refer to that opinion as the opinion of this Court. Thus, in disposing of the plaintiff's claim, the Majority says: "We can only conclude that the clear language of the policy restricts the loss to that following a direct invasion of the property by fire or another ...


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