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M. SCHNOLL & SON v. STANDARD ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY (09/16/59)

September 16, 1959

M. SCHNOLL & SON, INC.
v.
STANDARD ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 205, Oct. T., 1959, from judgment of Municipal Court of Philadelphia County, June T., 1956, No. 730, in case of M. Schnoll and Son, Inc. v. Standard Accident Insurance Company. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Robert F. Blanck, with him Glenn A. Troutman, and McWilliams, Wagoner & Troutman, for appellant.

Paul Brandeis, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt and Gunther, JJ., absent).

Author: Wright

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 361]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

This case arises under a manufacturers' and contractors' schedule liability policy issued by Standard Accident Insurance Company to M. Schnoll and Son, Inc., hereinafter referred to as Schnoll, a painting contractor. Schnoll's complaint in assumpsit alleged that,

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 362]

    during the course of painting wood gables on a large number of houses in a building development, "paint was accidentally splashed whereby plaintiff was caused to repaint" the shingle siding on some 52 of the houses. Defendant's motion for a compulsory non-suit was overruled, and its point for binding instructions was refused. The trial judge submitted to the jury the question whether the loss was caused by accident under the policy coverage. The jury found in favor of Schnoll. Defendant's motion for judgment n.o.v. was dismissed, and judgment was entered on the verdict. This appeal followed.

The policy under consideration covers liability for property damage in the following language: "To pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall become obligated to pay by reason of the liability imposed upon him by law for damages because of injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof, caused by accident and arising out of any of the hazards hereinafter defined with respect to which insurance is afforded as provided in the declarations". Appellant contends that the interpretation of this language presented "a purely legal question" which should have been resolved in its favor. Appellee's counterstatement of the question involved is as follows: "Was not the question of interpretation of the words in the insurance policy a question of fact to be determined by a jury?"

The word "accident" is not defined in the policy, and the term must therefore be interpreted in its usual, ordinary and popular sense. "Webster has defined it as 'an event that takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event; chance; contingency'. Many courts have quoted this definition, and some have added to or embellished it, but in reality few have improved upon it": Lacey v.

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 363]

    sheets, erecting a lean-to against the side of the building, and constructing scaffolds. Thus Schnoll was aware that the paint would drip, was apparently unable to prevent the drops from falling on the shingles below, and continued to let them become stained by the paint. To hold that the resulting damage was caused by accident within the meaning of the policy would be, in ...


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